The Effects of a Novel Inhibitor of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Alpha on Prepulse Inhibition and Microglial Activation in Two Distinct Rodent Models of Schizophrenia
Increased neuroinflammation has been shown in individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia (SCHZ). This study evaluated a novel immune modulator (PD2024) that targets the pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) to alleviate sensorimotor gating deficits and microglial activation employing two different rodent models of SCHZ. In Experiment 1, rats were neonatally treated with saline or the dopamine D2-like agonist quinpirole (NQ; 1 mg/kg) from postnatal day (P) 1-21 which produces increases of dopamine D2 receptor sensitivity throughout the animal's lifetime. In Experiment 2, rats were neonatally treated with saline or the immune system stimulant polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (Poly I:C) from P5-7. Neonatal Poly I:C treatment mimics immune system activation associated with SCHZ. In both experiments, rats were raised to P30 and administered a control diet or a novel TNFα inhibitor PD2024 (10 mg/kg) in the diet from P30 until P67. At P45-46 and from P60-67, animals were behaviorally tested on auditory sensorimotor gating as measured through prepulse inhibition (PPI). NQ or Poly I:C treatment resulted in PPI deficits, and PD2024 treatment alleviated PPI deficits in both models. Results also revealed that increased hippocampal and prefrontal cortex microglial activation produced by neonatal Poly I:C was significantly reduced to control levels by PD2024. In addition, a separate group of animals neonatally treated with saline or Poly I:C from P5-7 demonstrated increased TNFα protein levels in the hippocampus but not prefrontal cortex, verifying increased TNFα in the brain produced by Poly I:C. Results from this study suggests that that brain TNFα is a viable pharmacological target to treat the neuroinflammation known to be associated with SCHZ.
Shelton, Heath W.; Gabbita, S. P.; Gill, W. D.; Burgess, Katherine C.; Whicker, Wyatt S.; and Brown, Russell W.. 2021. The Effects of a Novel Inhibitor of Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) Alpha on Prepulse Inhibition and Microglial Activation in Two Distinct Rodent Models of Schizophrenia. Behavioural Brain Research. Vol.406 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113229 PMID: 33684425 ISSN: 0166-4328