Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment and stress may cause immune activation in the brain, an event which has been thought to play a role in mediating stress-induced cognitive dysfunction. However, the enduring impact of psychosocial stress on brain immune activation or cognitive deficits has not been well investigated. Likewise, it remains unexplored whether there exist synergistic effects of psychosocial stress and a weak systemic LPS treatment on brain immune activation and/or cognitive function. In this work, a 10-day social defeat regimen was used to model psychosocial stress and the number and density of ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1 (Iba1)-stained microglia was used to reveal brain immune activation in male Balb/C mice. The social defeat regimen did not cause observable microglial activation in dentate gyrus (DG) 24 h after the conclusion of the regimen. Microglial activation peaked in DG 24 h following a single 1 mg/kg intra-peritoneal LPS injection. At this time point, DG microglial activation was not evident providing 0.125 mg/kg or lower of LPS was used, this dose of LPS was, thus, regarded as the “sub-threshold” in this study. Twenty-four h after the conclusion of the defeat regimen, mice received a social interaction test to determine their defeat stress susceptibility and a “sub-threshold” LPS injection. DG microglial activation was observed in the defeat-stress susceptible, but not in the resilient, mice. Furthermore, the stress-susceptible mice showed impairment in object location and Y maze tasks 24 and 72 h after the “sub-threshold” LPS injection. These results suggest that psychosocial stress, when combined with a negligible peripheral infection, may induce long-lasting hippocampus-related memory deficits exclusively in subjects susceptible to psychosocial stresses.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)