Microglial activation in crossing white matter tracts is a hallmark of noncystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), the leading pathology underlying cerebral palsy in prematurely born infants. Recent studies indicate that neuroinflammation within an early time-window can produce long-lasting defects in oligodendroglial maturation, myelination-deficit, as well as disruption of transcription factors important in oligodendroglial maturation. We recently reported an ischemic mouse model of PVL, induced by unilateral neonatal carotid artery ligation, leading to selective long lasting bilateral myelination deficits, ipsilateral thinning of the corpus callosum, ventriculomegaly, as well as evidence of axonopathy.
Here, we report that permanent unilateral carotid ligation on postnatal day 5 (P5) in CD-1 mice induces an inflammatory response, as defined by microglial activation and recruitment, as well as significant changes in cytokine expression (increased IL-1b, IL-6, TGF-b1, and TNF-a) following ischemia. Transient reduction in counts of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) at 24 and 48 hours post-ischemia, a shift in OPC cell size and morphology towards the more immature form, as well as likely migration of OPCs were found. These OPC changes were topographically associated with areas showing microglial activation, and OPC counts negatively correlated with increased microglial staining.
The presented data shows a striking neuroinflammatory response in an ischemia-induced model of PVL, associated with oligodendroglial injury. Future studies modulating the neuroinflammatory response in this model, may contribute to a better understanding of the interaction between microglia and OPCs in PVL and open opportunities for future therapies.