Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by multiorgan inflammation, neuropsychiatric disorders (NPSLE), and anti-nuclear antibodies. We previously identified a subset of anti-DNA antibodies (DNRAb) cross-reactive with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, present in 30% to 40% of patients, able to enhance excitatory post-synaptic potentials and trigger neuronal apoptosis. DNRAb+ mice exhibit memory impairment or altered fear response, depending on whether the antibody penetrates the hippocampus or amygdala. Here, we used 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) microPET to plot changes in brain metabolism after regional blood-brain barrier (BBB) breach. In DNRAb+ mice, metabolism declined at the site of BBB breach in the first 2 weeks and increased over the next 2 weeks. In contrast, DNRAb- mice exhibited metabolic increases in these regions over the 4 weeks after the insult. Memory impairment was present in DNRAb+ animals with hippocampal BBB breach and altered fear conditioning in DNRAb+ mice with amygdala BBB breach. In DNRAb+ mice, we observed an inverse relationship between neuron number and regional metabolism, while a positive correlation was observed in DNRAb- mice. These findings suggest that local metabolic alterations in this model take place through different mechanisms with distinct time courses, with important implications for the interpretation of imaging data in SLE subjects.
- N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor
- stereological neuron count