Patients with major depressive disorder have elevated peripheral inflammation; the degree of this increase correlates with the severity of the disorder. Chronic psychological stress increases pro-inflammatory cytokines and promotes microglial activation, leading to stress vulnerability. Epigenetics, including DNA methylation and histone modification, are also related to the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder. Sodium butyrate (SB), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, exerts an antidepressant effect by altering gene expression in the hippocampus. In this study, we investigated whether lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced depressive-like behaviors in mice are affected by the repeated treatment with SB. Intraperitoneal injection of LPS (5 mg/kg) induced cytokines and ionized calcium-binding adaptor molecule 1(Iba1), a marker of microglial activation, in the hippocampus. It also increased the immobility time in a forced swim test, without changing locomotion. Repeated treatment with SB reduced LPS-induced alterations. These findings suggested that epigenetic regulation exist in hippocampal microglial activation, and is involved in depressive-like behaviors associated with neuro-inflammation. Further, using cDNA microarray analyses, we examined whether LPS and SB treatment affected the microglial gene profiles. Our results indicated 64 overlapping genes, between LPS-increased genes and SB-decreased genes. Among these genes, EF hand calcium binding domain 1 was a particularly distinct candidate gene. Altogether, our findings indicated that microglial activation mediated through epigenetic regulation may be involved in depressive-like behaviors. In addition, we demonstrated the effect of SB on gene information in hippocampal microglia under neuroinflammatory conditions.
Keywords: Epigenetics; Hippocampus; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; Inflammation; Microglia.
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