Electroconvulsive shock attenuated microgliosis and astrogliosis in the hippocampus and ameliorated schizophrenia-like behavior of Gunn rat

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Abstract

Background: Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is regarded as one of the efficient treatments for intractable psychiatric disorders, the mechanism of therapeutic action remains unclear. Recently, many studies indicate that ECT affects the immune-related cells, such as microglia, astrocytes, and lymphocytes. Moreover, microglial activation and astrocytic activation have been implicated in the postmortem brains of schizophrenia patients. We previously demonstrated that Gunn rats showed schizophrenia-like behavior and microglial activation in their brains. The present study examined the effects of electroconvulsive shock (ECS), an animal counterpart of ECT, on schizophrenia-like behavior, microgliosis, and astrogliosis in the brain of Gunn rats. Methods: The rats were divided into four groups, i.e., Wistar sham, Wistar ECS, Gunn sham, and Gunn ECS. ECS groups received ECS once daily for six consecutive days. Subsequently, prepulse inhibition (PPI) test was performed, and immunohistochemistry analysis was carried out to determine the activation degree of microglia and astrocytes in the hippocampus by using anti-CD11b and anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) antibody, respectively. Results: We found PPI deficit in Gunn rats compared to Wistar rats, and it was significantly improved by ECS. Immunohistochemistry analysis revealed that immunoreactivity of CD11b and GFAP was significantly increased in Gunn rats compared to Wistar rats. ECS significantly attenuated the immunoreactivity of both CD11b and GFAP in Gunn rats. Conclusions: ECS ameliorated schizophrenia-like behavior of Gunn rats and attenuated microgliosis and astrogliosis in the hippocampus of Gunn rats. Accordingly, therapeutic effects of ECT may be exerted, at least in part, by inhibition of glial activation. These results may provide crucial information to elucidate the role of activated glia in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia and to determine whether future therapeutic interventions should attempt to up-regulate or down-regulate glial functions.

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Limoa, E., Hashioka, S., Miyaoka, T., Tsuchie, K., Arauchi, R., Azis, I. A., … Horiguchi, J. (2016). Electroconvulsive shock attenuated microgliosis and astrogliosis in the hippocampus and ameliorated schizophrenia-like behavior of Gunn rat. Journal of Neuroinflammation, 13(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-016-0688-2

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