The neuropeptide PACAP alleviates T. gondii infection-induced neuroinflammation and neuronal impairment

Cerebral infection with the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is responsible for inflammation of the central nervous system (CNS) contributing to subtle neuronal alterations. Albeit essential for brain parasite control, continuous microglia activation and recruitment of peripheral immune cells...

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Main Authors: Figueiredo Caio Andreeta
Düsedau Henning Peter
Steffen Johannes
Ehrentraut Stefanie
Dunay Miklós Pál
Tóth Gábor
Reglődi Dóra
Heimesaat Markus M.
Dunay Ildikó Rita
Format: Article
Published: 2022
Series:JOURNAL OF NEUROINFLAMMATION 19 No. 1
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doi:10.1186/s12974-022-02639-z

mtmt:33258011
Online Access:http://publicatio.bibl.u-szeged.hu/26491
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Summary:Cerebral infection with the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is responsible for inflammation of the central nervous system (CNS) contributing to subtle neuronal alterations. Albeit essential for brain parasite control, continuous microglia activation and recruitment of peripheral immune cells entail distinct neuronal impairment upon infection-induced neuroinflammation. PACAP is an endogenous neuropeptide known to inhibit inflammation and promote neuronal survival. Since PACAP is actively transported into the CNS, we aimed to assess the impact of PACAP on the T. gondii-induced neuroinflammation and subsequent effects on neuronal homeostasis.Exogenous PACAP was administered intraperitoneally in the chronic stage of T. gondii infection, and brains were isolated for histopathological analysis and determination of pathogen levels. Immune cells from the brain, blood, and spleen were analyzed by flow cytometry, and the further production of inflammatory mediators was investigated by intracellular protein staining as well as expression levels by RT-qPCR. Neuronal and synaptic alterations were assessed on the transcriptional and protein level, focusing on neurotrophins, neurotrophin-receptors and signature synaptic markers.Here, we reveal that PACAP administration reduced the inflammatory foci and the number of apoptotic cells in the brain parenchyma and restrained the activation of microglia and recruitment of monocytes. The neuropeptide reduced the expression of inflammatory mediators such as IFN-γ, IL-6, iNOS, and IL-1β. Moreover, PACAP diminished IFN-γ production by recruited CD4+ T cells in the CNS. Importantly, PACAP promoted neuronal health via increased expression of the neurotrophin BDNF and reduction of p75NTR, a receptor related to neuronal cell death. In addition, PACAP administration was associated with increased expression of transporters involved in glutamatergic and GABAergic signaling that are particularly affected during cerebral toxoplasmosis.Together, our findings unravel the beneficial effects of exogenous PACAP treatment upon infection-induced neuroinflammation, highlighting the potential implication of neuropeptides to promote neuronal survival and minimize synaptic prejudice.
Physical Description:17
ISSN:1742-2094