Sci Rep 2017 08 29;7(1):9836. Epub 2017 Aug 29.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Canada.
Enhanced postnatal care (EPC) increases resilience to adversity in adulthood. Since microglia participate in shaping neural circuits, we asked how ablation of an inflammation-suppressing factor IRF2BP2 (Interferon Regulatory Factor 2 Binding Protein 2) in microglia would affect the responses to EPC. Mice lacking IRF2BP2 in microglia (KO) and littermate controls (WT) were subjected to EPC during the first 3 weeks after birth. EPC reduced anxiety in WT but not KO mice. This was associated with reduced inflammatory cytokine expression in the hypothalamus. Whole genome RNAseq profiling of the hypothalamus identified 101 genes whose expression was altered by EPC: 95 in WT, 11 in KO, with 5 in common that changed in opposite directions. Proteoglycan 4 (Prg4), prostaglandin D2 synthase (Ptgds) and extracellular matrix protease inhibitor Itih2 were suppressed by EPC in WT but elevated in KO mice. On the other hand, the glutamate transporter VGLUT1 (Slc17a7) was increased by EPC in WT but not KO mice. Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) is known to enhance microglial inflammation and promote Gfap expression. ELISA confirmed reduced PGD2 in the hypothalamus of WT mice after EPC, associated with reduced Gfap expression. Our study suggests that the anxiety-reducing effect of EPC operates by suppressing microglial inflammation, likely by reducing neuronal prostaglandin D2 production.