The subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus is an adult neurogenic niche where new neurons are continuously generated. A dramatic hippocampal neurogenesis decline occurs with increasing age, contributing to cognitive deficits. The process of neurogenesis is intimately regulated by the microenvironment, with inflammation being considered a strong negative factor for this process. Thus, we hypothesize that the reduction of new neurons in the aged brain could be attributed to the age-related microenvironmental changes towards a pro-inflammatory status. In this work, we evaluated whether an anti-inflammatory microenvironment could counteract the negative effect of age on promoting new hippocampal neurons. Surprisingly, our results show that transgenic animals chronically overexpressing IL-10 by astrocytes present a decreased hippocampal neurogenesis in adulthood. This results from an impairment in the survival of neural newborn cells without differences in cell proliferation. In parallel, hippocampal-dependent spatial learning and memory processes were affected by IL-10 overproduction as assessed by the Morris water maze test. Microglial cells, which are key players in the neurogenesis process, presented a different phenotype in transgenic animals characterized by high activation together with alterations in receptors involved in neuronal communication, such as CD200R and CX3CR1. Interestingly, the changes described in adult transgenic animals were similar to those observed by the effect of normal aging. Thus, our data suggest that chronic IL-10 overproduction mimics the physiological age-related disruption of the microglia-neuron dialogue, resulting in hippocampal neurogenesis decrease and spatial memory impairment.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Brain, Behavior, and Immunity|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2022|