Journal Article Changes in neurotransmitter levels and expression of immediate early genes in brain of mice infected with Neospora caninum

Ihara, Fumiaki  ,  Nishimura, Maki  ,  Muroi, Yoshikage  ,  Furuoka, Hidefumi  ,  Yokoyama, Naoaki  ,  Nishikawa, Yoshifumi

6p.23052 , 2016-03-14 , Nature Publishing Group
Neospora caninum is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes neurological disorders in dogs and cattle. The majority of host animals are asymptomatic at the chronic stage of infection. However, it remains unclear whether cerebral function is normal in asymptomatic animals. In this study, mice were infected with N. caninum (strain Nc-1) and their brains were examined to understand changes in cerebral function at the chronic stage of infection. Mice infected with N. caninum showed impaired locomotor activity, but no differences in clinical symptoms were observed. In the brains of infected mice, parasites were distributed throughout the brain and histological lesions were observed everywhere except for the cerebellum. Expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines, inter-ferongamma and tumour necrosis factor-alpha, were highly upregulated in several brain regions of infected mice. Additionally, the level of neurotransmitters glutamate, glycine, gamma-aminobutyric acid, dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine, were altered in infected mice compared with those of uninfected mice. Interestingly, the expression levels of immediately early genes, c-Fos and Arc, in the brain of infected mice were lower than those of in uninfected mice. Our findings may provide insight into neurological disorders associated with N. caninum infection.

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