Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive Impairment Is Associated with Cytokine Dysregulation and Disruptions in Neuroplasticity
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Chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment, often referred to as “chemobrain,” is a common side effect. In this study, mice received three intraperitoneal injections of a combination of docetaxel, adriamycin, and cyclophosphamide (DAC) at 2-day intervals. A water maze test was used to examine cognitive performance, and manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) was used to examine hippocampal neuronal activity. The whole brain, prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and blood samples were then collected for cytokine measurement. The DAC-treated mice displayed a significantly shorter duration spent in and fewer entries into the target quadrant of the water maze than the control mice and a pronounced decrease in MEMRI signal intensity in the hippocampal subregions. In a separate experiment using in vivo transcranial two-photon imaging, DAC markedly eliminated dendritic spines without changing the rate of spine formation, leading to a striking loss of spines in the medial prefrontal cortex. DAC treatment resulted in significant elevations in the levels of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and in significant decreases in the levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-4 and IL-10 in most of the sera and brain tissues examined. The IL-6 and TNF-α levels of several sera and brain tissues showed strong inverse correlations with the duration and number of entries in the target quadrant of the water maze and with the hippocampal MEMRI signal intensity, but also showed striking positive correlations with spine elimination and loss. These results indicate that chemobrain is associated with cytokine dysregulation and disrupted neuroplasticity of the brain.
KeywordsChemotherapy Cognitive impairment Cytokines Neuroplasticity Manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) In vivo transcranial two-photon imaging
This study was supported by General Research Fund (GRF) of Research Grant Council of HKSAR (17115017 for Z.J.Z.).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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