Behavioural, neurochemical, inflammatory and mitichondrial markers following social isolation rearing in rats before and after selected deug intervention
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Purpose: Schizophrenia is a progressive degenerative illness that has been causally linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and a pro-inflammatory state. Social isolation rearing (SIR) in rats models the neurodevelopmental aspects of schizophrenia. The antioxidant and glutamate modulator, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), has demonstrated therapeutic potential in schizophrenia as adjunctive treatment, although this has not been tested in the SIR model. The purpose of this study was to assess whether SIR induces changes in mitochondrial function (adenosine triphosphate (ATP)), pro- vs. anti-inflammatory cytokine balance, tryptophan metabolism, a disturbance in cortico-striatal monoamines and related metabolites, and associated alterations in behaviors akin to schizophrenia, viz. social interaction, object recognition memory and prepulse inhibition (PPI). Moreover, I evaluated whether these bio-behavioral alterations could be reversed with sub-chronic clozapine, or NAC, and whether NAC may bolster the response to clozapine treatment. Methods: The objectives of the study were pursued through separately conducted studies. Male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats (10 rats/group) were used in this study (Ethics number: NWU-0035-08-S5). Rats were randomly allocated to either social rearing or SIR for 8 weeks receiving either no treatment, vehicle, NAC (150 mg/kg/day), clozapine (5 mg/kg/day) or a combination of clozapine + NAC (CLZ + NAC) during the last 11 or 14 days of social rearing or SIR. After the 8 weeks, rats were tested for social interactive behaviors, object recognition memory and prepulse inhibition (PPI). Peripheral tryptophan metabolites (determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)) and pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-4, IL-6, TNF-α, IFN-γ) (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)) were determined. Cortico-striatal ATP (bioluminescence assay) and monoamines (high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)) were also determined. Results: SIR-induced significant deficits in social interactive behaviours, object recognition memory and PPI, associated with increased peripheral kynurenine, quinolinic acid (QA), and pro-inflammatory cytokines, as well as a decrease in kynurenic acid (KYNA), neuroprotective ratio and anti-inflammatory cytokines. I also observed an increase in striatal, but reduced frontal cortical ATP, dopamine, serotonin as well as their metabolites and noradrenaline’s metabolite, with noradrenaline increased in both brain regions in SIR rats. A separate dose-response study of NAC (50, 150, 250 mg/kg/day) found 150 mg/kg to be the most appropriate dose for the NAC and CLZ + NAC studies. Clozapine, NAC as well as CLZ + NAC reversed all these changes, with NAC being less effective than CLZ alone. CLZ + NAC was found to be more effective than clozapine alone in reversing certain bio-behavioral alterations induced by SIR. In addition NAC alone dose dependently reversed most of the SIR induced alterations. Conclusion: SIR induces behavioral alterations, a pro-inflammatory state, mitochondrial dysfunction and cortico-striatal monoamine alterations, closely resembling evidence in schizophrenia. Importantly, all these bio-behavioral alterations were reversed with clozapine, NAC and CLZ + NAC treatment. However, CLZ + NAC was more effective than clozapine alone in reversing some bio-behavioral alterations, supporting the therapeutic application of NAC as adjunctive treatment in schizophrenia. In addition, NAC dose dependently reversed SIR-induced cortico-striatal serotonin, noradrenaline and metabolites, emphasizing NAC’s potential use in other anxiety and stress- related disorders.
- Health Sciences