MCC950 Attenuates Microglial NLRP3-Mediated Chronic Neuroinflammation and Memory Impairment in a Rat Model of Repeated Low-Level Blast Exposure

Arun Reddy Ravula, Kathleen E. Murray, Kakulavarapu V. Rama Rao, Bryan J. Pfister, Bruce A. Citron, Namas Chandra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Blast-induced traumatic brain injury is typically regarded as a signature medical concern for military personnel who are exposed to explosive devices in active combat zones. However, soldiers as well as law enforcement personnel may be repeatedly exposed to low-level blasts during training sessions with heavy weaponries as part of combat readiness. Service personnel who sustain neurotrauma from repeated low-level blast (rLLB) exposure do not display overt pathological symptoms immediately but rather develop mild symptoms including cognitive impairments, attention deficits, mood changes, irritability, and sleep disturbances over time. Recently, we developed a rat model of rLLB by applying controlled low-level blast pressures (£ 70 kPa) repeated five times successively to mimic the pressures experienced by service members. Using this model, we assessed anxiety-like symptoms, motor coordination, and short-term memory as a function of time. We also investigated the role of the NLRP3 inflammasome, a complex involved in chronic microglial activation and pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β release, in rLLB-induced neuroinflammation. NLRP3 and caspase-1 protein expression, microglial activation, and IL-1β release were examined as factors likely contributing to these neurobehavioral changes. Animals exposed to rLLB displayed acute and chronic short-term memory impairments and chronic anxiety-like symptoms accompanied by increased microglial activation, NLRP3 expression, and IL-1β release. Treatment with MCC950, an NLRP3 inflammasome complex inhibitor, suppressed microglial activation, reduced NLRP3 expression and IL-1β release, and improved short-term memory deficits after rLLB exposure. Collectively, this study demonstrates that rLLB induces chronic neurobehavioral and neuropathological changes by increasing NLRP3 inflammasome protein expression followed by cytokine IL-1β release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Neurology

Keywords

  • NLRP3
  • behavioral deficits
  • blast TBI
  • microglia
  • neuroinflammation
  • oxidative stress

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