Indexed on: 19 Mar '13Published on: 19 Mar '13Published in: Free Radical Biology & Medicine
Brain tumor patients often develop cognitive impairment months to years after partial or fractionated whole-brain irradiation (WBI). Studies suggest that neuroinflammation and decreased hippocampal neurogenesis contribute to the pathogenesis of radiation-induced brain injury. In this study, we determined if the peroxisomal proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) δ agonist GW0742 can prevent radiation-induced brain injury in C57Bl/6 wild-type (WT) and PPARδ knockout (KO) mice. Dietary GW0742 prevented the acute increase in IL-1β mRNA and ERK phosphorylation measured at 3h after a single 10-Gy dose of WBI; it also prevented the increase in the number of activated hippocampal microglia 1 week after WBI. In contrast, dietary GW074 failed to prevent the radiation-induced decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis determined 2 months after WBI in WT mice or to mitigate their hippocampal-dependent spatial memory impairment measured 3 months after WBI using the Barnes maze task. PPARδ KO mice exhibited defects including decreased numbers of astrocytes in the dentate gyrus/hilus of the hippocampus and a failure to exhibit a radiation-induced increase in activated hippocampal microglia. Interestingly, the number of astrocytes in the dentate gyrus/hilus was reduced in WT mice, but not in PPARδ KO mice 2 months after WBI. These results demonstrate that, although dietary GW0742 prevents the increase in inflammatory markers and hippocampal microglial activation in WT mice after WBI, it does not restore hippocampal neurogenesis or prevent early delayed hippocampal-dependent cognitive impairment after WBI. Thus, the exact relationship between radiation-induced neuroinflammation, neurogenesis, and cognitive impairment remains elusive.