Development of cerebral gray and white matter injury and cerebral inflammation over time after inflammatory perinatal asphyxia

Hilde J C Bonestroo, Cobi J. Heijnen, Floris Groenendaal, Frank Van Bel, Cora H. Nijboer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Antenatal inflammation is associated with increased severity of hypoxic-ischemic (HI) encephalopathy and adverse outcome in human neonates and experimental rodents. We investigated the effect of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on the timing of HI-induced cerebral tissue loss and gray matter injury, white matter injury and integrity, and the cerebral inflammatory response. On postnatal day 9, mice underwent HI by unilateral carotid artery occlusion followed by systemic hypoxia which resulted in early neuronal damage (MAP2 loss) at 3 h that did not increase up to day 15. LPS injection 14 h before HI (LPS+HI) significantly and gradually aggravated MAP2 loss from 3 h up to day 15, resulting in an acellular cystic lesion. LPS+HI increased white matter damage, reduced myelination in the corpus callosum and increased white matter fiber coherency in the cingulum. The number of oligodendrocytes throughout the lineage (Olig2-positive) was increased whereas more mature myelinating (CNPase-positive) oligodendrocytes were strongly decreased after LPS+HI. LPS+HI induced an increased and prolonged expression of cerebral cytokines/chemokines compared to HI. Additionally, LPS+HI increased macrophage/microglia activation and influx of neutrophils in the brain compared to HI. This study demonstrates the sensitizing effect of LPS on neonatal HI brain injury for an extended time-frame up to 15 days postinsult. LPS before HI induced a gradual increase in gray and white matter deficits, including reduced numbers of more mature myelinating oligodendrocytes and a decrease in white matter integrity. Moreover, LPS+HI prolonged and intensified the cerebral inflammatory response, including cellular infiltration. In conclusion, as the timing of damage and/or involved pathways are changed when HI is preceded by inflammation, experimental therapies might require modifications in the time window, dosage or combinations of therapies for efficacious neuroprotection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Neurosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Cytokines
  • Hypoxia-ischemia
  • Inflammation
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Microglia
  • Neonatal brain injury
  • Neutrophils
  • Oligodendrocytes
  • White matter


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