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Biomaterials. 2012 Sep;33(26):5983-96. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2012.05.021. Epub 2012 Jun 6.

The upregulation of specific interleukin (IL) receptor antagonists and paradoxical enhancement of neuronal apoptosis due to electrode induced strain and brain micromotion.

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1
Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, 313 Ferst Drive, GA 30332-0535, USA.

Abstract

The high mechanical mismatch between stiffness of silicon and metal microelectrodes and soft cortical tissue, induces strain at the neural interface which likely contributes to failure of the neural interface. However, little is known about the molecular outcomes of electrode induced low-magnitude strain (1-5%) on primary astrocytes, microglia and neurons. In this study we simulated brain micromotion at the electrode-brain interface by subjecting astrocytes, microglia and primary cortical neurons to low-magnitude cyclical strain using a biaxial stretch device, and investigated the molecular outcomes of induced strain in vitro. In addition, we explored the functional consequence of astrocytic and microglial strain on neural health, when they are themselves subjected to strain. Quantitative real-time PCR array (qRT-PCR Array) analysis of stretched astrocytes and microglia showed strain specific upregulation of an Interleukin receptor antagonist - IL-36Ra (previously IL-1F5), to ≈ 1018 and ≈ 236 fold respectively. Further, IL-36Ra gene expression remained unchanged in astrocytes and microglia treated with bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) indicating that the observed upregulation in stretched astrocytes and microglia is potentially strain specific. Zymogram and western blot analysis revealed that mechanically strained astrocytes and microglia upregulated matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) 2 and 9, and other markers of reactive gliosis such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and neurocan when compared to controls. Primary cortical neurons when stretched with and without IL-36Ra, showed a ≈ 400 fold downregulation of tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, member 11b (TNFRSF11b). Significant upregulation of members of the caspase cysteine proteinase family and other pro-apoptotic genes was also observed in the presence of IL-36Ra than in the absence of IL-36Ra. Adult rats when implanted with microwire electrodes showed upregulation of IL-36Ra (≈ 20 fold) and IL-1Ra (≈ 1500 fold) 3 days post-implantation (3 DPI), corroborating in vitro results, although these transcripts were drastically down regulated by ≈ 20 fold and ≈ 1488 fold relative to expression levels 3 DPI, at the end of 12 weeks post-implantation (12 WPI). These results demonstrate that IL receptor antagonists may be negatively contributing to neuronal health at acute time-points post-electrode implantation.

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