DOI: 10.3390/ijms241713225 ISSN:

Altered Expression of Autophagy Biomarkers in Hippocampal Neurons in a Multiple Sclerosis Animal Model

Sabrina Ceccariglia, Diego Sibilia, Ornella Parolini, Fabrizio Michetti, Gabriele Di Sante
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. Inflammation, demyelination, synaptic alteration, and neuronal loss are hallmarks detectable in MS. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model widely used to study pathogenic aspects of MS. Autophagy is a process that maintains cell homeostasis by removing abnormal organelles and damaged proteins and is involved both in protective and detrimental effects that have been seen in a variety of human diseases, such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, inflammation, and metabolic disorders. This study is aimed at investigating the autophagy signaling pathway through the analysis of the main autophagic proteins including Beclin-1, microtubule-associated protein light chain (LC3, autophagosome marker), and p62 also called sequestosome1 (SQSTM1, substrate of autophagy-mediated degradation) in the hippocampus of EAE-affected mice. The expression levels of Beclin-1, LC3, and p62 and the Akt/mTOR pathway were examined by Western blot experiments. In EAE mice, compared to control animals, significant reductions of expression levels were detectable for Beclin-1 and LC3 II (indicating the reduction of autophagosomes), and p62 (suggesting that autophagic flux increased). In parallel, molecular analysis detected the deregulation of the Akt/mTOR signaling. Immunofluorescence double-labeling images showed co-localization of NeuN (neuronal nuclear marker) and Beclin-1, LC3, and p62 throughout the CA1 and CA3 hippocampal subfields. Taken together, these data demonstrate that activation of autophagy occurs in the neurons of the hippocampus in this experimental model.

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