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Mental Health - Neuroscience


Aggravation of Chronic Stress Effects on Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Spatial Memory in LPA1 Receptor Knockout Mice
Published: Thursday, September 29, 2011
Author: Estela Castilla-Ortega et al.

by Estela Castilla-Ortega, Carolina Hoyo-Becerra, Carmen Pedraza, Jerold Chun, Fernando Rodríguez De Fonseca, Guillermo Estivill-Torrús, Luis J. Santín

Background

The lysophosphatidic acid LPA1 receptor regulates plasticity and neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus. Here, we studied whether absence of the LPA1 receptor modulated the detrimental effects of chronic stress on hippocampal neurogenesis and spatial memory.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Male LPA1-null (NULL) and wild-type (WT) mice were assigned to control or chronic stress conditions (21 days of restraint, 3 h/day). Immunohistochemistry for bromodeoxyuridine and endogenous markers was performed to examine hippocampal cell proliferation, survival, number and maturation of young neurons, hippocampal structure and apoptosis in the hippocampus. Corticosterone levels were measured in another a separate cohort of mice. Finally, the hole-board test assessed spatial reference and working memory. Under control conditions, NULL mice showed reduced cell proliferation, a defective population of young neurons, reduced hippocampal volume and moderate spatial memory deficits. However, the primary result is that chronic stress impaired hippocampal neurogenesis in NULLs more severely than in WT mice in terms of cell proliferation; apoptosis; the number and maturation of young neurons; and both the volume and neuronal density in the granular zone. Only stressed NULLs presented hypocortisolemia. Moreover, a dramatic deficit in spatial reference memory consolidation was observed in chronically stressed NULL mice, which was in contrast to the minor effect observed in stressed WT mice.

Conclusions/Significance

These results reveal that the absence of the LPA1 receptor aggravates the chronic stress-induced impairment to hippocampal neurogenesis and its dependent functions. Thus, modulation of the LPA1 receptor pathway may be of interest with respect to the treatment of stress-induced hippocampal pathology.

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