Non-cell-autonomous motor neuronal death is suggested in a mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase 1 (mSOD1)-mediated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) model, in which microglia and T cells play significant roles in disease progression. However, it remains unknown whether these cells are toxic or protective. The present study aimed to clarify the developmental age-related alterations of neuronal, glial and T cell responses to acute neuron injury in non-transgenic (N-Tg) mice, and the in vivo effects of mSOD1 on these changes by studying N-Tg and mSOD1-Tg mice subjected to unilateral hypoglossal nerve axotomy at young (8. weeks) and adult (17. weeks) ages. Adult N-Tg mice showed increased neuronal viability on day 21 after axotomy and trends toward increased numbers of recruited microglia on day 3 and T cells on day 7, in the hypoglossal nucleus, compared with young N-Tg mice. Quantitative comparisons between mSOD1-Tg and N-Tg mice at the same ages, on day 3 after axotomy, showed that microglial recruitment was significantly lower in mSOD1-Tg mice than in 17-week-old N-Tg mice (the disease progression stage), but the same difference was not seen in 8-week-old mice (the presymptomatic stage), despite good preservation of hypoglossal neurons. Infiltration of CD3-positive T cells, mostly CD4-positive, on day 7 and the viability rate of hypoglossal neurons on the operated side compared with the contralateral side on day 21 were significantly decreased in mSOD1-Tg mice compared with N-Tg mice aged 17. weeks, but the same difference was not seen in mice aged 8. weeks. On day 3 after axotomy, expression levels of IGF-1 mRNA in the operated hypoglossal nucleus were significantly lower in mSOD1-Tg mice than N-Tg mice at 17. weeks of age. The observation that depressed microglial and T cell responses and expression of neurotrophic factors coincided with reduced neuronal viability in adult mSOD1-Tg mice suggests that diminished neuroprotective functions of mSOD1 microglia and T cells may contribute to exaggerated neuronal death.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Neuroscience