Cognitive impairment precipitated by irradiation of normal brain tissue is commonly associated with radiation therapy for treatment of brain cancer, and typically manifests more than 6 months after radiation exposure. The risks of cognitive impairment are of particular concern for an increasing number of long-term cancer survivors. There is presently no effective means of preventing or mitigating this debilitating condition. Neuroinflammation mediated by activated microglial cytokines has been implicated in the pathogenesis of radiation-induced cognitive impairment in animal models, including the disruption of neurogenesis and activity-induced gene expression in the hippocampus. These pathologies evolve rapidly and are associated with relatively subtle cognitive impairment at 2 months postirradiation. However, recent reports suggest that more profound cognitive impairment develops at later post-irradiation time points, perhaps reflecting a gradual loss of responsiveness within the hippocampus by the disruption of neurogenesis. We hypothesized that inhibiting neuroinflammation using MW01-2-151SRM (MW-151), a selective inhibitor of proinflammatory cytokine production, might mitigate these deleterious radiation effects by preserving/restoring hippocampal neurogenesis. MW-151 therapy was initiated 24 h after 10 Gy whole-brain irradiation (WBI) administered as a single fraction and maintained for 28 days thereafter. Proinflammatory activated microglia in the dentate gyrus were assayed at 2 and 9 months post-WBI. Cell proliferation and neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus were assayed at 2 months post-WBI, whereas novel object recognition and long-term potentiation were assayed at 6 and 9 months post-WBI, respectively. MW-151 mitigated radiation-induced neuroinflammation at both early and late time points post-WBI, selectively mitigated the deleterious effects of irradiation on hippocampal neurogenesis, and potently mitigated radiation-induced deficits of novel object recognition consolidation and of long-term potentiation induction and maintenance. Our results suggest that transient administration of MW-151 is sufficient to partially preserve/restore neurogenesis within the subgranular zone and to maintain the functional integrity of the dentate gyrus long after MW-151 therapy withdrawal.
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Vol. 179 • No. 5