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Distinct cellular mediators drive the Janus Faces of Toll-like Receptor 4 regulation of network excitability which impacts working memory performance after brain Injury

By Akshata A. Korgaonkar, Ying Li, Susan Nguyen, Jenieve Guevarra, Kevin C H Pang, Vijayalakshmi Santhakumar

Posted 02 Sep 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/750869 (published DOI: 10.1016/j.bbi.2020.03.035)

The mechanisms by which the neurophysiological and inflammatory responses to brain injury contribute to memory impairments are not fully understood. Recently, we reported that the innate immune receptor, toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) enhances AMPA receptor (AMPAR) currents and excitability in the dentate gyrus after fluid percussion brain injury (FPI) while limiting excitability in controls. Here we examine the cellular mediators underlying TLR4 regulation of dentate excitability and its impact on memory performance. In ex vivo slices, astrocytic and microglial metabolic inhibitors selectively abolished TLR4 antagonist modulation of excitability in controls, without impacting FPI rats, demonstrating that glial signaling contributes to TLR4 regulation of excitability in controls. In glia-depleted neuronal cultures from naïve mice, TLR4 ligands bidirectionally modulated AMPAR charge transfer demonstrating the ability of neuronal TLR4 to regulate excitability, as observed after brain injury. In vivo TLR4 antagonism reduced early post-injury increases in mediators of MyD88-dependent and independent TLR4 signaling without altering expression in controls. Blocking TNFα, a downstream effector of TLT4, mimicked effects of TLR4 antagonist and occluded TLR4 agonist modulation of excitability in slices from both control and FPI rats. Functionally, transiently blocking TLR4 in vivo improved impairments in working memory observed one week and one month after FPI, while the same treatment impaired memory function in uninjured controls. Together these data identify that distinct cellular signaling mechanisms converge on TNFα to mediate TLR4 modulation of network excitability in the uninjured and injured brain and demonstrate a role for TLR4 in regulation of working memory function. Highlights

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