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Mol Psychiatry. 2014 May;19(5):599-606. doi: 10.1038/mp.2013.137. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Role of brain transmigrating neutrophils in depression-like behavior during systemic infection.

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Department of Psychiatry, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.
Groupe de recherche en neurobiologie comportementale/Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada.

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Peripheral inflammation induces transmigration of interleukin (IL)-1β-expressing neutrophils to the brain. We investigated the possibility that this presents a new route of immune-to-brain communication by assessing their role in sickness behaviors relevant for mood disorders. Mice treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) developed despair-like behavior, and administration of an anti-polymorphonuclear antibody abolished LPS-induced despair-like and asocial behaviors, which correlated with the levels of IL-1β expression in the brain. These behavioral changes were directly mediated by the energy-regulating hormone, leptin. Increasing the concentration of endogenous leptin during obesity exacerbated, whereas its neutralization using a specific antiserum attenuated sickness behaviors and importantly the neutrophil transmigrating process. Our results indicate a role for peripheral neutrophils in conveying inflammatory signals to the brain, which appears to be dependent on the energy status of the organism. This constitutes a novel mechanism of immune-to-brain communication relevant to mood disorders.

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