• A pivotal role for interleuking-4 in Atorvastatin-associated neuroprotection in rat brain.

      Clarke, R.M.; Lyons, A.; O'Connell, F.; Deighan, B.F.; Barry, C.E.; Anyakoha, Ngozi G.; Nicolaou, Anna; Lynch, M.A. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2008)
      Inflammatory changes, characterized by an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine production and up-regulation of the corresponding signaling pathways, have been described in the brains of aged rats and rats treated with the potent immune modulatory molecule lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These changes have been coupled with a deficit in long-term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampus. The evidence suggests that anti-inflammatory agents, which attenuate the LPS-induced and age-associated increase in hippocampal interleukin-1ß (IL-1ß) concentration, lead to restoration of LTP. Here we report that atorvastatin, a member of the family of agents that act as inhibitors of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase, exerts powerful anti-inflammatory effects in brain and that these effects are mediated by IL-4 and independent of its cholesterol-lowering actions. Treatment of rats with atorvastatin increased IL-4 concentration in hippocampal tissue prepared from LPS-treated and aged rats and abrogated the age-related and LPS-induced increases in pro-inflammatory cytokines, interferon-¿ (IFN¿) and IL-1ß, and the accompanying deficit in LTP. The effect of atorvastatin on the LPS-induced increases in IFN¿ and IL-1ß was absent in tissue prepared from IL-4¿/¿ mice. The increase in IL-1ß in LPS-treated and aged rats is associated with increased microglial activation, assessed by analysis of major histocompatibility complex II expression, and the evidence suggests that IFN¿ may trigger this activation. We propose that the primary effect of atorvastatin is to increase IL-4, which antagonizes the effects of IFN¿, the associated increase in microglial activation, and the subsequent cascade of events.
    • The polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DPA exert a protective effect in the hippocampus of the aged rat

      Kelly, L.E.; Grehan, B.; Chiesa, A.D.; O'Mara, S.M.; Downer, E.; Sahyoun, George; Massey, Karen A.; Nicolaou, Anna; Lynch, M.A. (2010)
      Age is characterized by deficits in synaptic function identified by decreased performance of aged animals in spatial learning tasks and reduced ability of animals to sustain long-term potentiation (LTP). Several cellular and molecular events are correlated with these deficits, many of which are indicative of cell stress. Thus there is evidence of age-related neuroinflammatory stress and oxidative stress and these have been linked with microglial activation which is likely to be primarily responsible for the age-related increase in production of proinflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species. It is significant that agents which decrease microglial activation are commonly associated with restoration of function. We set out to examine whether the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), which is a metabolite of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), could modulate the age-related increase in microglial activation and the associated increase in oxidative changes and therefore impact on synaptic function in aged rats. We demonstrate that DPA possesses neurorestorative effects and is capable of downregulating microglial activation. The data show that it also decreases the coupled activation of sphingomyelinase and caspase 3, probably as a result of its ability to decrease age-related oxidative changes, and consequently attenuates the age-related decrease in spatial learning and LTP.