Developmental neuroscience

Neonatal peripheral immune challenge activates microglia and inhibits neurogenesis in the developing murine hippocampus.

PMID 24642725


The early postnatal period represents an important window in rodent hippocampal development with peak hilar neurogenesis and widespread microgliogenesis occurring in the first week of life. Inflammation occurring during this period may negatively influence development, potentially facilitating or increasing susceptibility to later-life pathology. We administered the Gram-negative bacterial coat protein lipopolysaccharide (LPS) systemically at postnatal day 5 (1 mg/kg i.p.) and assessed potential effects on microgliogenesis, inflammation and neurogenesis in the developing hippocampus. LPS administration led to an acute but transient increase in absolute number and density of ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1-immunoreactive microglia, a change attributable to increased proliferation of central nervous system-resident microglia/microglial precursor cells but not infiltration of peripheral monocyte-derived macrophages. qRT-PCR analysis of hippocampal gene expression showed these LPS-mediated changes to be associated with persistent dysregulation of genes associated with both M1 and M2 microglial phenotypes, indicating prolonged alteration in hippocampal inflammatory status. Further, analysis of progenitor cell regulation in the hippocampal subgranular zone revealed a transient inhibition of the neuronal differentiation pathway up to 2 weeks after LPS administration, a change occurring specifically through effects on type 3 neural progenitor cells and independently of altered cell proliferation or survival of newly born cells. Together, our results show that systemic inflammation occurring during the early neonatal period is sufficient to alter inflammatory status and dysregulate the ongoing process of neurogenesis in the developing hippocampal germinal niche.