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C3 deficiency ameliorates the negative effects of irradiation of the young brain on hippocampal development and learning.

Journal article
Authors Marie Kalm
Ulf Andreasson
Thomas Björk-Eriksson
Henrik Zetterberg
Milos Pekny
Kaj Blennow
Marcela Pekna
Klas Blomgren
Published in Oncotarget
Volume 7
Issue 15
Pages 19382-94
ISSN 1949-2553
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 19382-94
Language en
Subject categories Neurochemistry


Radiotherapy in the treatment of pediatric brain tumors is often associated with debilitating late-appearing adverse effects, such as intellectual impairment. Areas in the brain harboring stem cells are particularly sensitive to irradiation (IR) and loss of these cells may contribute to cognitive deficits. It has been demonstrated that IR-induced inflammation negatively affects neural progenitor differentiation. In this study, we used mice lacking the third complement component (C3-/-) to investigate the role of complement in a mouse model of IR-induced injury to the granule cell layer (GCL) of the hippocampus. C3-/- and wild type (WT) mice received a single, moderate dose of 8 Gy to the brain on postnatal day 10. The C3-/- mice displayed 55 % more microglia (Iba-1+) and a trend towards increase in proliferating cells in the GCL compared to WT mice 7 days after IR. Importantly, months after IR C3-/- mice made fewer errors than WT mice in a reversal learning test indicating better learning capacity in C3-/- mice after IR. Notably, months after IR C3-/- and WT mice had similar GCL volumes, survival of newborn cells (BrdU), microglia (Iba-1) and astrocyte (S100β) numbers in the GCL. In summary, our data show that the complement system contributes to IR-induced loss of proliferating cells and maladaptive inflammatory responses in the acute phase after IR, leading to impaired learning capacity in adulthood. Targeting the complement system is hence promising for future strategies to reduce the long-term adverse consequences of IR in the young brain.

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