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Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Feb;49(1):176-86. doi: 10.1007/s12035-013-8510-y. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Activation of liver X receptor is protective against ethanol-induced developmental impairment of Bergmann glia and Purkinje neurons in the mouse cerebellum.

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Department of Histology and Embryology, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, 400038, People's Republic of China.


Cerebellar Purkinje cell and granule cell development are coordinated by Bergmann glia, and are particularly sensitive to ethanol (EtOH) exposure. The liver X receptor (LXR) plays important roles in Bergmann glial development. However, the effect of LXR activation on EtOH-mediated impairment of Bergmann glia and subsequently on Purkinje cell dendritogenesis remains undetermined. Therefore, using immunohistochemistry, quantitative real-time PCR and Western blot, we tested the possible protection of LXR agonist T0901317 (T0) on Bergmann glia and Purkinje cell dendritogenesis in mice exposed to ethanol. Results showed that a brief exposure of EtOH on postnatal day (PD 5) significantly decreased the average body weight of mice at PD 6 without alteration in the brain weight. In EtOH-exposed mice, the number of migrating granule cells in the molecular layer was significantly decreased, and this effect was attenuated by pretreatment of T0. EtOH exposure also resulted in the significant reduction of calbindin-labeled Purkinje cells, their maximum dendrite length, and impairment of Purkinje cell dendritogenesis. Furthermore, EtOH induced the activation of microglia in the Purkinje cell layer and impaired the development of Bergmann glia. However, pretreatment of T0 effectively blocked all of these responses. These responses were found to be mediated by the inhibition of upregulated levels of β-catenin and transcription factor LEF1 in the cerebellum. Overall, the results suggest that activating LXRs on postnatal mice exposed to EtOH is protective to Bergmann glia, and thus may play a critical role in preventing EtOH-induced defects during cerebellar development.

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