Neuroinflammatory conditions such as traumatic brain injury, aging, Alzheimer's disease, and Down syndrome are often associated with cognitive dysfunction. Much research has targeted inflammation as a causative mediator of these deficits, although the diverse cellular and molecular changes that accompany these disorders obscure the link between inflammation and impaired memory. Therefore, we used a transgenic mouse model with a dormant human IL-1beta excisional activation transgene to direct overexpression of IL-1beta with temporal and regional control. Two weeks of hippocampal IL-1beta overexpression impaired long-term contextual and spatial memory in both male and female mice, while hippocampal-independent and short-term memory remained intact. Human IL-1beta overexpression activated glia, elevated murine IL-1beta protein and PGE(2) levels, and increased pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine mRNAs specifically within the hippocampus, while having no detectable effect on inflammatory mRNAs in the liver. Sustained neuroinflammation also reduced basal and conditioning-induced levels of the plasticity-related gene Arc.
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