The combination of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and hypoxia–ischemia (HI) has been used to model the brain injury sustained by sick pre-term infants in order to study the pathological conditions of diffuse white matter injury, which is a major cause of preterm morbidity. Prior studies have shown that the timing and dose of LPS administration will determine whether the injury is reduced or exacerbated. Here we show that administering a single injection of LPS (0.1 mg/kg) to postnatal-day-2 rat pups 14 h before inducing HI effectively protects the brain from HI-associated damage. We show that the LPS-treated HI rat pups have significantly less histopathology compared to the saline-treated HI rat pups. Apoptotic deaths were dramatically curtailed in both the neocortex and white matter when evaluated at 2 days of recovery. Microglial activation was reduced when the percentage of CD68+/Iba1+ cells was quantified in the neocortex of the LPS-treated vs the saline-treated HI rat pups. One mechanism through which LPS pre-treatment appears to be preventing injury is through the AKT-endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) pathway as LPS induced an increase in both the expression and phosphorylation of eNOS. Altogether these data show that the neocortex, as well as the white matter sustain damage after HI at this timepoint in forebrain development and that acutely activating the immune system can protect the brain from brain injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Neuroscience
- Cerebral blood flow
- Pre-term birth