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Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Nov;26(8):1331-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.09.001. Epub 2012 Sep 13.

Postnatal administration of IL-1Ra exerts neuroprotective effects following perinatal inflammation and/or hypoxic-ischemic injuries.

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Laboratoire de Neurologie Pédiatrique, Département de Pédiatrie, Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.


New therapeutic strategies are needed to protect neonates, especially premature newborns, against brain injury and associated neurobehavioral deficits. The role of pro-inflammatory cytokines, especially IL-1β, in the pathophysiological pathway leading to neonatal brain damage is increasingly recognized and represents an attractive therapeutic target. We investigated the therapeutic potential of postnatal systemic administration of the interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) in an animal model of perinatal brain injury using the insults most common to human neonates, i.e. prenatal exposure to inflammation and/or postnatal hypoxia-ischaemia (HI). We found that postnatal administration of IL-1Ra preserved motor function and exploratory behavior after either prenatal exposure to inflammatory agent lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or postnatal HI insult. The deleterious effect of combined prenatal LPS and postnatal HI on brain development was also alleviated by administration of IL-1Ra, as seen by the protected neural stem cell population, prevention of myelin loss in the internal capsule, decreased gliosis, and decreased neurobehavioral impairment. This study showed the distinct pattern of functional deficits induced by prenatal inflammation as compared to postnatal HI and the therapeutic potential of IL-1Ra administration against neonatal brain injury. Furthermore, our results highlight the potential for postnatal treatment of prenatal inflammatory stressors.

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