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Poornima Weerasinghe-Mudiyanselage, Sohi Kang, Joong-Sun Kim, Sung-Ho Kim, Hongbing Wang, Taekyun SHIN, Changjong Moon. Changes in structural plasticity of hippocampal neurons in an animal model for multiple sclerosis. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.309
Citation: Poornima Weerasinghe-Mudiyanselage, Sohi Kang, Joong-Sun Kim, Sung-Ho Kim, Hongbing Wang, Taekyun SHIN, Changjong Moon. Changes in structural plasticity of hippocampal neurons in an animal model for multiple sclerosis. Zoological Research. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.309

Changes in structural plasticity of hippocampal neurons in an animal model for multiple sclerosis

doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2023.309
Funds:  This study was funded by National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2022R1A2C100402212; NRF-2022R1A6A3A01087394; RS-2023-00219517).
  • Received Date: 2023-09-21
  • Accepted Date: 2023-12-19
  • Rev Recd Date: 2023-12-18
  • Published Online: 2023-12-26
  • Structural plasticity is critical for the functional diversity of neurons in the brain. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the most commonly used experimental model for multiple sclerosis (MS), mimics its key pathological features (inflammation, demyelination, axonal loss, and gliosis) and clinical symptoms (motor and non-motor dysfunctions). Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of synaptic plasticity in EAE pathogenesis. In the present study, we investigated features of behavioral alteration and hippocampal structural plasticity in EAE-affected mice in the early phase (11 days post immunization, DPI) and the chronic phase (28 DPI). EAE-affected mice exhibited hippocampus-related behavioral dysfunction in the open field test during both early and chronic phases. The dendritic complexity was largely affected in the cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) and CA3 apical and dentate gyrus (DG) subregions of the mouse hippocampus during the chronic phase, while this effect was only noted in the CA1 apical subregion in the early phase. Moreover, dendritic spine density was reduced in the hippocampal CA1 and CA3 apical/basal and DG subregions in the early phase of EAE, while dendritic spine density was reduced only in the DG subregion during the chronic phase. Further, mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines (Il1β, Tnfα, and Ifnγ) and glial cell markers (Gfap and Cd68), were significantly increased, whereas the expression of activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (ARC) was reduced during the chronic phase of EAE. Similarly, exposure to the aforementioned cytokines in primary cultures of hippocampal neurons reduced dendritic complexity and ARC expression. Additionally, primary cultures of hippocampal neurons showed significantly reduced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation upon treatment with proinflammatory cytokines. Collectively, these results suggest that autoimmune neuroinflammation alters structural plasticity in the hippocampus, possibly through the ERK-ARC pathway, indicating that this alteration may be associated with hippocampal dysfunctions in EAE.
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