Efficacy of post-insult minocycline administration to alter long-term hypoxia-ischemia-induced damage to the serotonergic system in the immature rat brain

J Wixey, H Reinebrant, Sarah Spencer, Kathryn Buller

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Neuroinflammation is a key mechanism contributing to long-term neuropathology observed after neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI). Minocycline, a second-generation tetracycline, is a potent inhibitor of neuroinflammatory mediators and is successful for at least short-term amelioration of neuronal injury after neonatal HI. However the long-term efficacy of minocycline to prevent injury to a specific neuronal network, such as the serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) system, is not known. In a post-natal day 3 (P3) rat model of preterm HI we found significant reductions in 5-HT levels, 5-HT transporter expression and numbers of 5-HT-positive dorsal raphe neurons 6 weeks after insult compared to control animals. Numbers of activated microglia were significantly elevated in the thalamus and dorsal raphe although the greatest numbers were observed in the thalamus. Brain levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) were also significantly elevated on P45 in the thalamus and frontal cortex. Post-insult administration of minocycline for 1 week (P3-P9) attenuated the P3 HI-induced increases in numbers of activated microglia and levels of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta on P45 with concurrent changes in serotonergic outcomes. The parallel prevention of P3 HI-induced serotonergic changes suggests that inhibition of neuroinflammation within the first week after P3 HI injury was sufficient to prevent long-term neuroinflammation as well as serotonergic system damage still evident at 6 weeks. Thus early, post-insult administration of minocycline may target secondary neuroinflammation and represent a long-term therapy to preserve the integrity of the central serotonergic network in the preterm neonate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184 - 192
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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