Cerebellar ataxia induced by 3-AP affects immunological function.


OBJECTIVE We previously showed that the cerebellum modulates the immune system. Here we determined whether cerebellar ataxia alters immunological function to further demonstrate an involvement of the cerebellum in immune modulation. METHODS Neurotoxin 3-acetylpyridine (3-AP) was intraperitoneally injected in rats to induce cerebellar ataxia. Behavior and motor coordination were tested on day 7 following 3-AP injection. Nissl staining and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) were used to determine neuronal loss and neurotransmitter contents, respectively, in all the three cerebellar nuclei, fastigial nucleus (FN), interposed nucleus (IN) and dentate nucleus (DN). T and B lymphocyte differentiation and function were measured by flow cytometry, Western blot and ELISA. RESULTS 3-AP induced motor discoordination and locomotor reduction. In all the three cerebellar nuclei, FN, IN and DN, there was a neuronal loss and a decrease in contents of glutamate and GABA (but not glycine) after 3-AP injection. Importantly, CD4+ T cells, but not CD8+ T cells, were increased by the 3-AP treatment. Moreover, interferon (IFN)-γ-producing cells and interleukin (IL)-17-producing cells were decreased in cerebellar ataxia rats, but IL-4-producing cells and CD25-expressing cells were increased. Expression of the T helper (Th)1- and Th17-related cytokines, IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-17 and IL-22, was downregulated in CD4+ cells in cerebellar ataxia rats, while expression of the Th2 and regulatory T (Treg)-related cytokines, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, was upregulated. Furthermore, B lymphocyte number and anti-bovine serum albumin (BSA) IgM and IgG antibody levels were elevated in cerebellar ataxia. CONCLUSION Cerebellar ataxia alters cellular and humoral immunity.


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