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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Jun 2023 - 30 Jun 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Inflammation/Inflammatory, Psychological/Comorbidities

2023 Jun 23



Complement C1q drives microglia-dependent synaptic loss and cognitive impairments in a mouse model of lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation.


Wu X, Gao Y, Shi C, Tong J, Ma D, Shen J, Yang J, Ji M


Activated microglia and subsequent release of pro-inflammatory cytokines result in neuroinflammatory status which further damage neurological function including cognitive impairments in various neurological conditions. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms during these pathological processing remain unknown. In the current study, mice received intraperitoneal administrations of LPS (0.5 mg/kg, daily, Escherichia coli O55:B5) for seven consecutive days and their different cohorts were used for behavioral assessment with open field, Y maze, and novel object recognition test or for electrophysiology recordings of mEPSC, LFP or LTP in in vivo or ex vivo preparation. The hippocampus from some cohorts were harvested for immunostaining or Western blotting of c1q, Iba-1, CD68, PSD95 and dendritic spine density or for transcriptome and proteomics analysis. Repeated LPS injections induced an up-regulation of complement system protein c1q and distinct microglial phenotype with an enrichment of the complement-phagosome pathway. Microglial synaptic engulfment and profound synaptic loss were found. These pathological changes were accompanied with the significantly decreased excitatory synaptic transmission, disturbed theta oscillations, impaired hippocampal long-term potentiation, and cognitive impairments. Notably, neutralization of c1q signaling robustly prevented these changes. Collectively, our data provide evidence that activated microglia and complement cascade c1q signaling in the hippocampus may account for synaptic loss and cognitive impairments in a mouse model of neuroinflammation induced by repeated LPS injections. Our work implicates that complement system may be a therapeutic target for developing therapies to prevent or treat cognitive disorders related to neuroinflammation or other disease conditions including neurodegenerative disease per se.