Cerebellar dysfunction relates to various psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum and depressive disorders. However, the physiological aspect is less advanced. Here, we investigate the immune-triggered hyperexcitability in the cerebellum on a wider scope. Activated microglia via exposure to bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide or heat-killed Gram-negative bacteria induce a potentiation of the intrinsic excitability in Purkinje neurons, which is suppressed by microglia-activity inhibitor and microglia depletion. An inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), released from microglia via toll-like receptor 4, triggers this plasticity. Our two-photon FRET ATP imaging shows an increase in ATP concentration following endotoxin exposure. Both TNF-α and ATP secretion facilitate synaptic transmission. Region-specific inflammation in the cerebellum in vivo shows depression- and autistic-like behaviors. Furthermore, both TNF-α inhibition and microglia depletion revert such behavioral abnormality. Resting-state functional MRI reveals overconnectivity between the inflamed cerebellum and the prefrontal neocortical regions. Thus, immune activity in the cerebellum induces neuronal hyperexcitability and disruption of psychomotor behaviors in animals.
Keywords: Purkinje cells; cerebellum; dendritic excitability; functional connectivity; inflammatory cytokines; intrinsic plasticity; microglia; psychomotor behaviors; synaptic currents.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.