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Altered hippocampal synaptic transmission in transgenic mice with astrocyte-targeted enhanced CCL2 expression

Brain Behavior and Immunity
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2011.02.013
  • Chemokine
  • Synaptic Plasticity
  • Short-Term Potentiation
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Post-Tetanic Potentiation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampal Slice
  • Western Blot
  • Field Potential
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Elevated expression of neuroinflammatory factors in the central nervous system (CNS) contributes to the cognitive impairment in CNS disorders such as injury, disease and neurodegenerative disorders. However, information on the role of specific neuroimmune factors in normal and abnormal CNS function is limited. In this study, we investigated the effects of chronic exposure to the chemokine CCL2 on hippocampal synaptic function at the Schaffer collateral–CA1 synapse, a synapse that is known to play an important role in cognitive functions such as memory and learning. Synaptic function was measured in vitro using hippocampal slices obtained from transgenic mice that express elevated levels of CCL2 in the CNS through astrocyte expression and their non-transgenic littermate controls. Extracellular field potential electrophysiological recordings showed a significant reduction in the magnitude of synaptic responses in hippocampal slices from the CCL2 transgenic mice compared with slices from non-transgenic littermate controls. Two forms of short-term synaptic plasticity (post-tetanic potentiation and short-term potentiation) thought to be important cellular mechanisms of short-term memory were enhanced in hippocampal slices from CCL2 transgenic mice compared to non-transgenic hippocampal slices, whereas long-term synaptic plasticity (LTP), which is critical to long-term memory formation, was not altered. Western blot analysis of hippocampus from the CCL2 transgenic mice and non-transgenic mice showed no change in level of neuronal specific enolase, a neuronal specific protein, GFAP, an astrocyte specific protein, and several synaptic proteins compared with non-transgenic littermate controls. These results show that CCL2, which is known to be chronically produced at elevated levels within the CNS in a number of CNS disorders, can significantly alter hippocampal function and implicate a role for CCL2 in the cognitive dysfunction associated with these CNS disorders.

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