MedelinM 2018

2018 - Mol Brain. 2018 Jan 15;11(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s13041-018-0347-x.

Bridging pro-inflammatory signals, synaptic transmission and protection in spinal explants in vitro

Medelin M, Giacco V, Aldinucci A, Castronovo G, Bonechi E, Sibilla A, Tanturli M, Torcia M, Ballerini L, Cozzolino F, Ballerini C


Multiple sclerosis is characterized by tissue atrophy involving the brain and the spinal cord, where reactive inflammation contributes to the neurodegenerative processes. Recently, the presence of synapse alterations induced by the inflammatory responses was suggested by experimental and clinical observations, in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model and in patients, respectively. Further knowledge on the interplay between pro-inflammatory agents, neuroglia and synaptic dysfunction is crucial to the design of unconventional protective molecules. Here we report the effects, on spinal cord circuits, of a cytokine cocktail that partly mimics the signature of T lymphocytes sub population Th1. In embryonic mouse spinal organ-cultures, containing neuronal cells and neuroglia, cytokines induced inflammatory responses accompanied by a significant increase in spontaneous synaptic activity. We suggest that cytokines specifically altered signal integration in spinal networks by speeding the decay of GABAA responses. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that synapse protection by a non-peptidic NGF mimetic molecule prevented both the changes in the time course of GABA events and in network activity that were left unchanged by the cytokine production from astrocytes and microglia present in the cultured tissue. In conclusion, we developed an important tool for the study of synaptic alterations induced by inflammation, that takes into account the role of neuronal and not neuronal resident cells


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