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Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;46(4):1398-1411. doi: 10.1159/000489155. Epub 2018 Apr 18.

Upregulation of TREM2 Ameliorates Neuroinflammatory Responses and Improves Cognitive Deficits Triggered by Surgical Trauma in Appswe/PS1dE9 Mice.

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Department of Anesthesiology, the First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China.
Department of Neurology, the First Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, China.



TREM2 plays a crucial role in modulating microglial function through interaction with DAP12, the adapter for TREM2. Emerging evidence has demonstrated that TREM2 could suppress neuroinflammatory responses by repression of microglia-mediated cytokine production. This study investigated the potential role of TREM2 in surgery-induced cognitive deficits and neuroinflammatory responses in wild-type (WT) and APPswe/PS1dE9 mice.


Adult APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic male mice (a classic transgenic model of Alzheimer's disease, 3 months old) and their age-matched WT mice received intracerebral lentiviral particles encoding the mouse TREM2 gene and then were subjected to partial hepatectomy at 1 month after the lentiviral particle injection. The behavioral changes were evaluated with an open-field test and Morris water maze test on postoperative days 3, 7, and 14. Hippocampal TREM2, DAP12, and interleukin (IL)-1β were measured at each time point. Ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba-1), microglial M2 phenotype marker Arg1, synaptophysin, tau hyperphosphorylation (T396), and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) were also examined in the hippocampus.


Surgical trauma induced an exacerbated cognitive impairment and enhanced hippocampal IL-1β expression in the transgenic mice on postoperative days 3 and 7. A corresponding decline in the levels of TREM2 was also found on postoperative days 3, 7, and 14. Overexpression of TREM2 downregulated the levels of IL-1β, ameliorated T396 expression, inhibited the activity of GSK-3β, and improved sickness behavior. Increased Arg1 expression and a high level of synaptophysin were also observed in the transgenic mice following TREM2 overexpression.


The downregulation of TREM2 exacerbated surgery-induced cognitive deficits and exaggerated neuroinflammatory responses in this rodent model. Overexpression of TREM2 potentially attenuated these effects by decreasing the associated production of proinflammatory cytokines, inhibiting tau hyperphosphorylation, and enhancing synaptophysin expression.


Cytokines; Hippocampus; Microglia; Neuroinflammation; Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD); Trem2

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