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dc.contributor.advisorLiu, Ping
dc.contributor.authorZhang, Jiaxian
dc.date.available2016-11-17T03:42:54Z
dc.date.copyright2016
dc.identifier.citationZhang, J. (2016). Effects of maternal immune activation on brain arginine metabolism and microglia during neonatal neurodevelopment (Thesis, Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences with Honours). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/6943en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10523/6943
dc.description.abstractSchizophrenia is a debilitating chronic mental disorder with prominent frontal and hippocampal dysfunction. While the exact cause of schizophrenia is poorly understood, a number of factors, including neurodevelopmental disruption, have been linked to the aetiology of the disease. Maternal immune activation (MIA) is a neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia based on epidemiological evidence that prenatal exposure to infections increases the risk of schizophrenia in adulthood. This model often uses a single systemic administration of the synthetic cytokine inducer polyinosinic:polycytidilic acid (polyI:C) during mid-gestation (e.g., gestation day 15) to induce MIA in pregnant rats. A number of anatomical, neurochemical and behavioral features of schizophrenia are evident in the adult MIA rat offspring. Accumulating evidence implicates altered metabolism of L-arginine, an amino acid with a number of bioactive metabolites, and microglial dysfunction in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. Recent research has shown altered brain arginine metabolic profile and microglial dysfunction in the adult, as well as adolescent, MIA rat offspring. However, does a single MIA insult during the early stage of neurodevelopment affect brain arginine metabolism and microglia has not been addressed previously. We hypothesized that MIA during neonatal neurodevelopment might alter brain arginine metabolism and affect microglial maturation. To test these hypotheses, we designed the following three experiments to investigate how polyI:C-induced MIA affected brain arginine metabolism and microglia in rats at the age of postnatal day (PD) 2. Twenty-four pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were given a single tail vein injection of polyI:C (4.0 mg/kg; MIA) or saline (control) on gestation day 15 (n = 12/group). Experiment 1 quantified the tissue concentrations of L-arginine and its nine downstream metabolites (L-citrulline, L-ornithine, glutamate, glutamine, GABA, agmatine, putrescine, spermidine and spermine) in the forebrain of male and female control and MIA offspring (n=12/sex/group) at PD2 using high performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometric (LC/MS) assays. There were no significant differences between the control and MIA groups in both sexes for the ten neurochemical variables measured, suggesting that MIA did not have a global effect on brain arginine metabolism at this age. Since schizophrenia is associated with prominent frontal and hippocampal dysfunction, Experiment 2 measured tissue concentrations of L-arginine and its nine downstream metabolites in the frontal cortex and hippocampus of male and female control and MIA offspring (n=8/sex/group) at PD2. There were increased levels of L-arginine, glutamate, putrescine, spermidine and spermine and glutamate/GABA ratio, but decreased glutamine/glutamate ratio, in both male and female MIA offspring relative to the controls in a region-specific manner. These results provide the first evidence that a single MIA insult during early neurodevelopment altered arginine metabolism in the frontal cortex and hippocampus at the neonatal stage. Human genetic studies have identified schizophrenia risk genes encoding neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), one of the key arginine metabolising enzymes. Experiment 3 compared nNOS immunoreactive profiles and microglial migration and maturation in the brains of control and MIA offspring in both sexes (n = 4/sex/group) at PD 2. Immunohistochemistry revealed markedly increased number of nNOS-positive cells in the somatosensory cortex, striatum and the CA3 and dentate gyrus sub-regions of the hippocampus, but not frontal cortex, in the MIA offspring relative to the controls in both sexes. Moreover, there were delayed microglial migration and maturation in both male and female MIA offspring when compared with the controls. This study, for the first time, demonstrates that a single MIA insult alters the brain arginine metabolism and leads to the up-regulation of nNOS and abnormal development of microglia at the age of PD 2. These findings further support the involvement of L-arginine metabolism and microglia in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The changes during early neonatal neurodevelopment may contribute to neuronal and behavioral dysfunctions observed in the juvenile and adult MIA rat offspring.
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
dc.rightsAll items in OUR Archive are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subjectSchizophrenia
dc.subjectMIA
dc.subjectArginine
dc.subjectnNOS
dc.subjectMicroglia
dc.subjectNeurodevelopment
dc.titleEffects of maternal immune activation on brain arginine metabolism and microglia during neonatal neurodevelopment
dc.typeThesis
dc.date.updated2016-11-17T02:32:10Z
dc.language.rfc3066en
thesis.degree.disciplineAnatomy/ Ping Liu's group
thesis.degree.nameBachelor of Biomedical Sciences with Honours
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Otago
thesis.degree.levelHonours
otago.interloanyes
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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