Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Mechanisms Underlying Cognitive Impairment Induced by Chronic Intermittent Hypoxia in Rodents
by Xu, Linhao, Ph.D., The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), 2014, 217; 3691935
Abstract (Summary)

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common breathing and sleeping disorder, characterized by repeated episodes of airway obstruction during sleep resulting in intermittent hypoxia (IH). From clinical reports, patients with OSA are associated with behavioral and neuropsychological deficits, including impaired spatial learning memory and cognitive deficiencies. Previous studies proposed that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and apoptosis caused by intermittent hypoxia (IH) contributed to this cognitive deficits. However, the exact mechanism is still poorly understood and not settled.

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a cellular organelle in which all secretory and integral membrane proteins are folded and is also the site where proteins are post-translationally modified in ATP-dependent chaperone-mediated processes. In this study, we hypothesized that ER stress in the hippocampus is initiated in the OSA via elevated levels of ROS. Four groups of adult male mice were used, with two of them exposed to normoxia as control, and the other two exposed to IH treatment, each receiving either vehicle or tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), an ER stress inhibitor. Eight-armed radial maze was used to investigate the performance of reference memory during the whole IH/normoxia treatment. After behavior test, long-term potentiation (LTP) was measured to investigate synaptic plasticity in hippocampus. Furthermore, ER stress-associated pro-apoptotic effectors were detected by Western blotting, and ultra-structure of rough ER and the morphology of hippocampal dendritic spines and synapses in the hippocampal CA1 area were observed.

LTP was impaired in the hippocampus after IH treatment, which was rescued by TUDCA. Furthermore, ER stress-associated pro-apoptotic effectors, CHOP and caspase-12, were up-regulated after chronic IH treatment and was abolished by co-infusion of TUDCA. Meanwhile, increased cleaved-caspase-3 after chronic IH treatment was reduced by TUDCA via increased expression of Bcl-2. On the other hand, ultrastructural analysis of rough ER in the hippocampal CA1 revealed IH-induced ER luminal swelling, and was attenuated by TUDCA. In addition, the length of synaptic active zone was significantly reduced after chronic IH treatment and was partially rescued by the application of TUDCA. Golgi staining also showed a decrease in mature dendritic spines in IH group, and reversed by TUDCA. In behavioral analysis, the number of reference memory errors significantly increased after IH treatment and rescued by TUDCA injection. Overall, the data suggest a critical role of ER stress underlying the impairment of long-term synaptic plasticity and neurocognitive deficits in chronic IH. Targeting ER stress could be a potential therapeutic strategy for neural dysfunction in OSA.

On the other hand, neuronal firing, especially robust persistent activity of neuron in hippocampus, is critical role in memory formation. Increased ROS induced by IH has been implicated in long-term potentiation of neural activity. IH could be involved in a variety of K+ channels which eventually leads to excitotoxicity by increased Ca2+-dependent glutamate release. Although the results were just shown in acute IH treatment, the chronic effect of IH on the firing frequency of hippocampus is still unknown.

Therefore, to investigate the effect of chronic IH treatment on firing activities and local field potentials of hippocampal neurons, implantation of multi-channel micro-wires electrode array into hippocampus of OSA model rat was performed to monitor spontaneous discharge. The results were shown the firing frequency of pyramidal neurons (PNs) was significantly elevated after 8 hours IH in second and third days, on the other hand, interneurons (INs) seem to be more sensitive to intermittent hypoxia since the higher firing frequency was sustained from third day to seventh day after 8 hours IH, however, at the end of 14 days IH treatment, the firing frequencies of PNs and INs are all both dramatically reduced. Meanwhile, the results in this part will enable us to understand the exact change of firing pattern and local field potential during intermittent hypoxia. The percentage of complex burst spikes was decreased after 14 days IH in PNs and the power of theta rhythms was also impaired. It suggests that the disorder of neuronal pattern and the change of local field potential are associated with cognitive impairment in OSA model. After 1 week recovery, the firing frequency of PNs was rescued again, but not for that of INs. We also found that the power of theta rhythms which had an important role in memory formation was weaker after 2 weeks IH treatment, however, the precise mechanism was still unknown. From the effect of intermittent hypoxia on spontaneous discharges and LFP of hippocampal neurons in free moving rat, it may reveal some roles of IH in cognitive impairment via disorder neuronal function in CA1 region.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yee, Waye Mary Miu
School: The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)
School Location: Hong Kong
Source: DAI-B 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Neurosciences, Cellular biology, Pathology
Keywords: Endoplasmic recticulum stress, In vivo recording, Intermittent hypoxia, Long-term potentiation, Obstructive sleep apnea, Tauroursodeoxycholic acid
Publication Number: 3691935
ISBN: 978-1-321-66922-0
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