In vivo mechanisms of cortical network dysfunction induced by systemic inflammation


Peripheral inflammation is known to impact brain function, resulting in lethargy, loss of appetite and impaired cognitive abilities. However, the channels for information transfer from the periphery to the brain, the corresponding signaling molecules and the inflammation-induced interaction between microglia and neurons remain obscure. Here, we used longitudinal in vivo two-photon Ca2+ imaging to monitor neuronal activity in the mouse cortex throughout the early (initiation) and late (resolution) phases of peripheral inflammation. Single peripheral lipopolysaccharide injection induced a substantial but transient increase in ongoing neuronal activity, restricted to the initiation phase, whereas the impairment of visual processing was selectively observed during the resolution phase of systemic inflammation. In the frontal/motor cortex, the initiation phase-specific cortical hyperactivity was seen in the deep (layer 5) and superficial (layer 2/3) pyramidal neurons but not in the axons coming from the somatosensory cortex, and was accompanied by reduced activity of layer 2/3 cortical interneurons. Moreover, the hyperactivity was preserved after depletion of microglia and in NLRP3−/− mice but absent in TNF-α−/− mice. Together, these data identify microglia-independent and TNF-α-mediated reduction of cortical inhibition as a likely cause of the initiation phase-specific cortical hyperactivity and reveal the resolution phase-specific impairment of sensory processing, presumably caused by activated microglia.

Year of Publication
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
Date Published
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