Acute inflammation alters adult hippocampal neurogenesis in a multiple sclerosis mouse model

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Neural precursor cells (NPCs) located in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus (DG) give rise to thousands of new cells every day, mainly hippocampal neurons, which are integrated into existing neuronal circuits. Aging and chronic degenerative disorders have been shown to impair hippocampal neurogenesis, but the consequence of inflammation is somewhat controversial. The present study demonstrates that the inflammatory environment prevailing in the brain of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mice enhances the proliferation of NPCs in SGZ of the dorsal DG and alters the proportion between radial glial cells and newborn neuroblasts. The injection protocol of the cell cycle marker bromodeoxyuridine and the immunohistochemical techniques that were employed revealed that the proliferation of NPCs is increased approximately twofold in the SGZ of the dorsal DG of EAE mice, at the acute phase of the disease. However, although EAE animals exhibited significant higher percentage of newborn radial-glia-like NPCs, the mean percentage of newborn neuroblasts rather was decreased, indicating that the robust NPCs proliferation is not followed by a proportional production of newborn neurons. Significant positive correlations were detected between the number of proliferating cells in the SGZ and the clinical score or degree of brain inflammation of diseased animals. Finally, enhanced neuroproliferation in the acute phase of EAE was not found to trigger compensatory apoptotic mechanisms. The possible causes of altered neurogenesis observed in this study emphasize the need to understand more precisely the mechanisms regulating adult neurogenesis under both normal and pathological conditions. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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