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Developing brain and systemic inflammation: a "Toll-like" link with consequences

Doctoral thesis
Authors Amin Mottahedin
Date of public defense 2017-06-16
ISBN 978-91-629-0208-7 (PDF); 978-91-629-0207-0 (Print)
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Language en
Keywords developing brain, neonatal brain injury, hypoxia-ischemia, inflammation, infection, Toll-like receptor, choroid plexus, neuroimmunology, Mitochondria
Subject categories Immunology in the medical area, Neurosciences, Prenatal and perinatal research, Neurobiology, Molecular neurobiology

Abstract

The developing brain is vulnerable to external insults, and perinatal brain injury (PBI) is a major cause of life-long neurological syndromes such as cerebral palsy. Currently, no pharmaceutical intervention is available. Hypoxia/ischemia (HI), infections and inflammation are implicated in the pathogenesis of PBI. However, the crosstalk between these etiologies is not fully understood. Toll-like receptors (TLR) 3 and TLR2 are responsible for sensing viral and bacterial infections and initiating the inflammatory response. The aim of this thesis was to investigate the effect of systemic inflammation induced by activation of these TLRs on neonatal HI brain injury. We demonstrate that intraperitoneal administration of TLR3 and TLR2 ligands (PolyI:C and P3C, respectively) prior to HI increases the brain injury in neonatal mice. PolyI:C and P3C induced neuroinflammation and altered microglial phenotype as assessed by RT-qPCR, multiplex cytokine assay or flow cytometry. PolyI:C also upregulated the pro-apoptotic gene, Fasl, expression and reduced activation of pro-survival signaling molecule Akt. On the other hand, P3C suppressed mitochondrial respiration, a major mechanism of cellular energy production. P3C, unlike other TLR agonists, induced marked infiltration of leukocytes to the cerebral spinal fluid and brain of neonatal mice and rats. Confocal microscopy, Cre recombinase-mediated gene targeting and in vitro cell transmigra-tion assay revealed the choroid plexus as a site of leukocyte entry. RNA sequencing of the choroid plexus followed by transcriptome cluster analysis and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis revealed potential mechanisms of leukocyte infiltration, including a specific chemotaxis signature and cytoskeleton-related pathways. Finally, we show that N-acetylcysteine treatment inhibits TLR2-mediated leukocyte trafficking in vivo and in vitro. To conclude, this thesis describe a TLR-mediated link between systemic inflammation and developing brain with detrimental consequences on HI brain injury, suggesting potential novel therapeutic strategies.

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