Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and nuclear-binding domain (NOD)-like receptors (NLRs) are sensors of bacterial cell wall components to trigger an immune response. The TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a strong immune activator leading to sickness and depressed mood. NOD agonists are less active but can prime immune cells to augment LPS-induced cytokine production. Since the impact of NOD and TLR co-activation in vivo has been little studied, the effects of the NOD1 agonist FK565 and the NOD2 agonist muramyl dipeptide (MDP), alone and in combination with LPS, on immune activation, brain function and sickness behavior were investigated in male C57BL/6N mice. Intraperitoneal injection of FK565 (0.001 or 0.003mg/kg) or MDP (1 or 3mg/kg) 4h before LPS (0.1 or 0.83mg/kg) significantly aggravated and prolonged the LPS-evoked sickness behavior as deduced from a decrease in locomotion, exploration, food intake and temperature. When given alone, FK565 and MDP had only minor effects. The exacerbation of sickness behavior induced by FK565 or MDP in combination with LPS was paralleled by enhanced plasma protein and cerebral mRNA levels of proinflammatory cytokines (IFN-?, IL-1?, IL-6, TNF-?) as well as enhanced plasma levels of kynurenine. Immunohistochemical visualization of c-Fos in the brain revealed that NOD2 synergism with TLR4 resulted in increased activation of cerebral nuclei relevant to sickness. These data show that NOD1 or NOD2 synergizes with TLR4 in exacerbating the immune, sickness and brain responses to peripheral immune stimulation. Our findings demonstrate that the known interactions of NLRs and TLRs at the immune cell level extend to interactions affecting brain function and behavior.
Immune challenge of mice with Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) has been reported to cause transient weight loss and a behavioural sickness response. Although BCG-induced depression involves the kynurenine pathway, weight loss occurs independently of this factor. Because neuropeptide Y (NPY) and peptide YY (PYY) are involved in the regulation of food intake, we hypothesized that they play a role in the BCG-induced weight loss.
Environmental enrichment (EE) has a beneficial effect on rodent behaviour, neuronal plasticity and brain function. Although it may also improve stress coping, it is not known whether EE influences the brain response to an external (psychological) stressor such as water avoidance stress (WAS) or an internal (systemic) stressor such as gastrointestinal inflammation. This study hence explored whether EE modifies WAS-induced activation of the mouse corticolimbic system and whether this stress response is altered by gastritis or colitis. Male C67BL/6N mice were housed under standard or enriched environment for 9 weeks, after which they were subjected to a 1-week treatment with oral iodoacetamide to induce gastritis or oral dextran sulfate sodium to induce colitis. Following exposure to WAS the expression of c-Fos, a marker of neuronal activation, was measured by immunocytochemistry. EE aggravated experimentally induced colitis, but not gastritis, as shown by an increase in the disease activity score and the colonic myeloperoxidase content. In the brain, EE enhanced the WAS-induced activation of the dentate gyrus and unmasked an inhibitory effect of gastritis and colitis on WAS-evoked c-Fos expression within this part of the hippocampus. Conversely, EE inhibited the WAS-evoked activation of the central amygdala and prevented the inhibitory effect of gastritis and colitis on WAS-evoked c-Fos expression in this region. EE, in addition, blunted the WAS-induced activation of the infralimbic cortex and attenuated the inhibitory effect of gastritis and colitis on WAS-evoked c-Fos expression in this area. These data reveal that EE has a region-specific effect on stress-induced c-Fos expression in the corticolimbic system, which is likely to improve stress resilience. The response of the prefrontal cortex - amygdala - hippocampus circuitry to psychological stress is also modified by the systemic stress of gut inflammation, and this interaction between external and internal stressors is modulated by the housing environment.
Immune challenge by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) causes short-term behavioral changes indicative of depression. The present study sought to explore whether LPS is able to induce long-term changes in depression-related behavior and whether such an effect depends on mouse strain and social context. LPS (0.83 mg/kg) or vehicle was administered intraperitoneally to female CD1 and C57BL/6 mice that were housed singly or in groups of 4. Depression-like behavior was assessed with the forced swim test (FST) 1 and 28 days post-treatment. Group-housed CD1 mice exhibited depression-like behavior 1 day post-LPS, an effect that leveled off during the subsequent 28 days, while the behavior of singly housed CD1 mice was little affected. In contrast, singly housed C57BL/6 mice responded to LPS with an increase in depression-like behavior that was maintained for 4 weeks post-treatment and confirmed by the sucrose preference test. Group-housed C57BL/6 mice likewise displayed an increased depression-like behavior 4 weeks post-treatment. The behavioral changes induced by LPS in C57BL/6 mice were associated with a particularly pronounced rise of interleukin-6 in blood plasma within 1 day post-treatment and with changes in the dynamics of the corticosterone response to the FST. The current data demonstrate that immune challenge with LPS is able to induce prolonged depression-like behavior, an effect that depends on genetic background (strain). The discovery of an experimental model of long-term depression-like behavior after acute immune challenge is of relevance to the analysis of the epigenetic and pathophysiologic mechanisms of immune system-related affective disorders.
Peptide YY (PYY) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) are involved in regulating gut and brain function. Because gastrointestinal inflammation is known to enhance anxiety, we explored whether experimental colitis interacts with genetic deletion (knockout) of PYY and NPY to alter emotional-affective behaviour.
The comprehensive and stress-free assessment of various aspects of learning and memory is a prerequisite to evaluate mouse models for neuropsychiatric disorders such as Alzheimers disease or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). COGITAT is an automated holeboard system allowing simultaneous assessment of spatial working and reference-memory performance which we have adapted in this study to enable its usage with mice. The holeboard apparatus consists of an open-field chamber with a 25-hole floor insert, each hole being monitored by infrared light beams, located on three different levels, allowing the distinction between visits of holes, i.e. the animal reaches the bottom of the hole, or inspections, which means only superficial exploration of the hole. Across trials, animals learn a pattern of five baited holes. Here, we show that C57BL/6 mice readily acquire this task within 5 days when submitted to six trials per day. A number of individual parameters - overall exploratory activity, number of visits into or inspections of holes, number of baited, unbaited, or previously baited holes visited or inspected, reinspections of or revisits into any holes, number of pellets eaten, time to find pellets, and reference and working memory errors-are obtained simultaneously and results are immediately available after the end of each experiment. The muscarinic antagonist scopolamine impaired task performance, while the cognitive enhancer metrifonate (an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) reduced error rates. Overall, our data indicate that this spatial learning task will be useful to characterize spatial memory in various genetic or pharmacological mouse models.
Ethologically based animal models are widely used; however, results from different laboratories vary significantly which may partly be due to the lack of standardization. Here, we examined the effects of circadian rhythm, lighting condition and mouse strain (BALB/c and C57BL/6, known to differ in measures of avoidance and risk assessment behavior) on two well established behavioral tests in mice: the Elevated Plus Maze (EPM) and the Open Field (OF). Parameters from both paradigms are commonly used as indices of anxiety-like behavior. BALB/c mice and C57BL/6 mice were independently tested in the morning and at night, in regular laboratory lighting and in the dark. We developed a novel method based on infrared lighting from below, coupled to respective video-tracking equipment, which facilitates standard testing of behavior interference-free in complete darkness. The two mouse strains differed in anxiety-related variables for the EPM in the dark, and for the OF in regular laboratory lighting. Moreover, BALB/c displayed greater anxiety-like behavior than C57BL/6 in the OF but less anxiety-like behavior than C57BL/6 in the EPM. Lighting condition has a major influence on both behavioral tests and this to a considerably larger extent than circadian rhythm. In addition, the lighting condition interacts strongly with the genetic background, producing discriminative differences in the anxiety-related variables depending on mouse strain and lighting condition. These results challenge the comparability of not sufficiently standardized tests of anxiety-like behavior and emphasize the need for controlling environmental variables in behavioral phenotyping.
Neuropeptide Y participates in the acute behavioural responses to immune challenge, since Y2 receptor knockout (Y2?/?) mice are particularly sensitive to the short-term anxiogenic-like effect of bacterial lipopolysaccharide. The present exploratory study addressed the involvement of Y2 and Y4 receptors in the long-term behavioural responses to immune challenge. A single intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (0.83 mg/kg) to control mice did not affect open field behaviour 3 h post-treatment but enhanced anxiety-like behaviour in Y2?/? as well as Y4?/? mice. Four weeks post-treatment this behavioural effect of lipopolysaccharide persisted in Y4?/? mice but had gone in Y2?/? mice. Depression-related behaviour in the forced swim test was enhanced 1 day post-lipopolysaccharide in control and Y2?/? mice, but not in Y4?/? mice. Four weeks post-treatment, the depressogenic-like effect of lipopolysaccharide had waned in control mice, persisted in Y2?/? mice and was first observed in Y4?/? mice. In summary, knockout of Y2 and/or Y4 receptors unmasks the ability of a single lipopolysaccharide injection to cause a delayed and prolonged increase in anxiety- and/or depression-like behaviour. These findings suggest that neuropeptide Y acting via Y2 and Y4 receptors prevents the development of long-term anxiety- and depression-like behaviour caused by acute immune challenge.
As the use of the 5-HT(3) receptor antagonist alosetron (GlaxoSmithKline) and the 5-HT(4) receptor agonist tegaserod (Novartis) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome has been associated with cases of ischaemic colitis, the effects of alosetron, cilansetron (Solvay) and tegaserod on the rat splanchnic circulation were evaluated.
The organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3; synonymous: extraneuronal monoamine transporter, EMT, Slc22a3) encodes an isoform of the organic cation transporters and is expressed widely across the whole brain. OCTs are a family of high-capacity, bidirectional, multispecific transporters of organic cations. These also include serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine making OCTs attractive candidates for a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders including anxiety disorders. OCT3 has been implicated in termination of monoaminergic signalling in the central nervous system. Interestingly, OCT3 mRNA is however also significantly up-regulated in the hippocampus of serotonin transporter knockout mice where it might serve as an alternative reuptake mechanism for serotonin. The examination of the behavioural phenotype of OCT3 knockout mice thus is paramount to assess the role of OCT3. We have therefore subjected mice lacking the OCT3 gene to a comprehensive behavioural test battery. While cognitive functioning in the Morris water maze test and aggression levels measured with the resident-intruder paradigm were in the same range as the respective control animals, OCT3 knockout animals showed a tendency of increased activity and were significantly less anxious in the elevated plus-maze test and the open field test as compared to their respective wild-type controls arguing for a role of OCT3 in the regulation of fear and anxiety, probably by modulating the serotonergic tone in limbic circuitries.
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