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J Mol Neurosci. 2010 May;41(1):89-96. doi: 10.1007/s12031-009-9293-5. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

Interleukin-1 mediates long-term hippocampal dentate granule cell loss following postnatal viral infection.

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Department of Psychiatry, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Viral infections of the developing CNS can cause long-term neuropathological sequela through undefined mechanisms. Proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1beta have gained attention in mediating neurodegeneration in corticohippocampal structures due to a variety of insults in adults, though there is less information on the developing brain. Little is known concerning the spatial-temporal pattern of IL-1beta induction in the developing hippocampus following live virus infection, and there are few studies addressing the long-term consequences of this cytokine induction. We report that infection of rats with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus on postnatal day 4 induces IL-1beta protein in select regions of the hippocampus on 6, 15, 21, and 45 days after infection. This infection resulted in a 71% reduction of dentate granule cell neurons by the time the rats reached mid-adulthood. We further investigated the causative role of IL-1 in this dentate granule cell loss by blocking IL-1 activity using an IL-1ra-expressing adenoviral vector administered at the time of infection. Blockade of IL-1 abrogated the infection-associated neuron loss in this vivo model. Considering that IL-1 can be triggered by multiple perinatal insults, our findings suggest that early therapy with anti-inflammatory agents that block IL-1 may be effective for reducing adulthood neuropathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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