Background: Hyperglycemia is common in extremely low gestational age newborns (ELGAN) and is associated with increased mortality and morbidity, including abnormal neurodevelopment. Hippocampus-mediated cognitive deficits are common in this population, but the specific effects of hyperglycemia on the developing hippocampus are not known. Methods: The objective of this study was to determine the acute and long-term effects of hyperglycemia on the developing hippocampus in neonatal rats using a streptozotocin (STZ)-induced model of hyperglycemia. STZ was injected on postnatal day (P) 2, and littermates in the control group were injected with an equivalent volume of citrate buffer. The acute effects of hyperglycemia on markers of oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokines, microglial activation, and reactive astrocytosis in the hippocampus were determined in the brain tissue collected on P6. The long-term effects on hippocampus-mediated behavior and hippocampal dendrite structure were determined on P90. Results: On P6, the transcript and protein expression of markers of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines, including the CXCL10/CXCR3 pathway, were upregulated in the hyperglycemia group. Histological evaluation revealed microglial activation and astrocytosis. The long-term assessment on P90 demonstrated abnormal performance in Barnes maze neurobehavioral testing and altered dendrite structure in the hippocampus of formerly hyperglycemic rats. Conclusions: Neonatal hyperglycemia induces CXCL10/CXCR3 signaling, microglial activation, and astrocytosis in the rat hippocampus and alters long-term synaptogenesis and behavior. These results may explain the hippocampus-specific cognitive deficits common in ELGAN who experience neonatal hyperglycemia.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported by the Viking Children’s Fund; Grant number: UMF0015965. This funding body did not play a role in the design of the study; the collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data; or in writing the manuscript.
- Blood glucose
- Oxidative stress