• Langat virus infection affects hippocampal neuron morphology and function in mice without disease signs.

      Cornelius, Angela D A; Hosseini, Shirin; Schreier, Sarah; Fritzsch, David; Weichert, Loreen; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Fendt, Markus; Kröger, Andrea; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (BioMed Central, 2020-09-20)
      To compare the effect of low and high viral replication in the brain, wildtype and Irf-7-/- mice were infected with Langat virus (LGTV), which belongs to the TBEV-serogroup. The viral burden was analyzed in the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus. Open field, elevated plus maze, and Morris water maze experiments were performed to determine the impact on anxiety-like behavior, learning, and memory formation. Spine density of hippocampal neurons and activation of microglia and astrocytes were analyzed.
    • Long-Term Neuroinflammation Induced by Influenza A Virus Infection and the Impact on Hippocampal Neuron Morphology and Function.

      Hosseini, Shirin; Wilk, Esther; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Gerhauser, Ingo; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Geffers, Robert; Schughart, Klaus; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society for Neuroscience, 2018-02-27)
      Acute influenza infection has been reported to be associated with neurological symptoms. However, the long-term consequences of an infection with neurotropic and non-neurotropic influenza A virus (IAV) variants for the CNS remain elusive. We can show that spine loss in the hippocampus after infection with neurotropic H7N7 (rSC35M) and non-neurotropic H3N2 (maHK68) in female C57BL/6 mice persists well beyond the acute phase of the disease. Although spine number was significantly reduced at 30 d postinfection (dpi) with H7N7 or H3N2, full recovery could only be observed much later at 120 dpi. Infection with H1N1 virus, which was shown previously to affect spine number and hippocampus-dependent learning acutely, had no significant long-term effects. Spine loss was associated with an increase in the number of activated microglia, reduced long-term potentiation in the hippocampus, and impairment in spatial memory formation, indicating that IAV-associated inflammation induced functional and structural alterations in hippocampal networks. Transcriptome analyses revealed regulation of many inflammatory and neuron- and glia-specific genes in H3N2- and H7N7-infected mice at day 18 and in H7N7-infected mice at day 30 pi that related to the structural and functional alterations. Our data provide evidence that neuroinflammation induced by neurotropic H7N7 and infection of the lung with a non-neurotropic H3N2 IAV result in long-term impairments in the CNS. IAV infection in humans may therefore not only lead to short-term responses in infected organs, but may also trigger neuroinflammation and associated chronic alterations in the CNS.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT In the acute phase of influenza infection, neuroinflammation can lead to alterations in hippocampal neuronal morphology and cognitive deficits. The results of this study now also provide evidence that neuroinflammation induced by influenza A virus (IAV) infection can induce longer-lasting, virus-specific alterations in neuronal connectivity that are still detectable 1 month after infection and are associated with impairments in spatial memory formation. IAV infection in humans may therefore not only lead to short-term responses in infected organs, but may also trigger neuroinflammation and associated chronic alterations in the CNS.
    • The NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor OLT1177 rescues cognitive impairment in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

      Lonnemann, Niklas; Hosseini, Shirin; Marchetti, Carlo; Skouras, Damaris B; Stefanoni, Davide; D'Alessandro, Angelo; Dinarello, Charles A; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-11-30)
      Numerous studies demonstrate that neuroinflammation is a key player in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Interleukin (IL)-1β is a main inducer of inflammation and therefore a prime target for therapeutic options. The inactive IL-1β precursor requires processing by the the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome into a mature and active form. Studies have shown that IL-1β is up-regulated in brains of patients with AD, and that genetic inactivation of the NLRP3 inflammasome improves behavioral tests and synaptic plasticity phenotypes in a murine model of the disease. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of pharmacological inhibition of the NLRP3 inflammasome using dapansutrile (OLT1177), an oral NLRP3-specific inhibitor that is safe in humans. Six-month-old WT and APP/PS1 mice were fed with standard mouse chow or OLT1177-enriched chow for 3 mo. The Morris water maze test revealed an impaired learning and memory ability of 9-mo-old APP/PS1 mice (P = 0.001), which was completely rescued by OLT1177 fed to mice (P = 0.008 to untreated APP/PS1). Furthermore, our findings revealed that 3 mo of OLT1177 diet can rescue synaptic plasticity in this mouse model of AD (P = 0.007 to untreated APP/PS1). In addition, microglia were less activated (P = 0.07) and the number of plaques was reduced in the cortex (P = 0.03) following NLRP3 inhibition with OLT1177 administration. We also observed an OLT1177 dose-dependent normalization of plasma metabolic markers of AD to those of WT mice. This study suggests the therapeutic potential of treating neuroinflammation with an oral inhibitor of the NLRP3 inflammasome.
    • Type I Interferon Receptor Signaling in Astrocytes Regulates Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity and Cognitive Function of the Healthy CNS.

      Hosseini, Shirin; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Grigoryan, Gayane; Chhatbar, Chintan; Kalinke, Ulrich; Korte, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      Type I interferon receptor (IFNAR) signaling is a hallmark of viral control and host protection. Here, we show that, in the hippocampus of healthy IFNAR-deficient mice, synapse number and synaptic plasticity, as well as spatial learning, are impaired. This is also the case for IFN-β-deficient animals. Moreover, antibody-mediated IFNAR blocking acutely interferes with neuronal plasticity, whereas a low-dose application of IFN-β has a positive effect on dendritic spine structure. Interfering with IFNAR signaling in different cell types shows a role for cognitive function and synaptic plasticity specifically mediated by astrocytes. Intriguingly, levels of the astrocytic glutamate-aspartate transporter (GLAST) are reduced significantly upon IFN-β treatment and increase following inhibition of IFNAR signaling. These results indicate that, besides the prominent role for host defense, IFNAR is important for synaptic plasticity as well as cognitive function. Astrocytes are at the center stage of this so-far-unknown signaling cascade.