Failure of thyroid hormone treatment to prevent inflammation-induced white matter injury in the immature brain

Anne-Laure Schang, Juliette Van Steenwinckel, Didier Chevenne, Marten Alkmark, Henrik Hagberg, Pierre Gressens, Bobbi Fleiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Preterm birth is very strongly associated with maternal/foetal inflammation and leads to permanent neurological deficits that correlate with white matter injury, including maturational arrest of oligodendrocytes and hypomyelination. Preterm birth and exposure to inflammation causes hypothyroxinemia. As such, supplementation with thyroxine (T4) seems a good candidate therapy for reducing white matter damage in preterm infants as oligodendrocyte maturation and myelination is regulated by thyroid hormones. We report on a model of preterm inflammation-induced white matter damage, in which induction of systemic inflammation by exposure from P1 to P5 to interleukin-1β (IL-1β) causes oligodendrocyte maturational arrest and hypomyelination. This model identified transient hypothyroidism and wide-ranging dysfunction in thyroid hormone signalling pathways. To test whether a clinically relevant dose of T4 could reduce inflammation-induced white matter damage we concurrently treated mice exposed to IL-1β from P1 to P5 with T4 (20μg/kg/day). At P10, we isolated O4-positive pre-oligodendrocytes and gene expression analysis revealed that T4 treatment did not recover the IL-1β-induced blockade of oligodendrocyte maturation. Moreover, at P10 and P30 immunohistochemistry for markers of oligodendrocyte lineage (NG2, PDGFRα and APC) and myelin (MBP) similarly indicated that T4 treatment did not recover IL-1β-induced deficits in the white matter. In summary, in this model of preterm inflammation-induced white matter injury, a clinicaldose of T4 had no therapeutic efficacy. We suggest that additional pre-clinical trials with T4 covering the breadth and scope of causes and outcomes of perinatal brain injury are required before we can correctly evaluate clinical trials data and understand the potential for thyroid hormone as a widely implementable clinical therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-102
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Behavior and Immunity
Volume37
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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