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Publications of the Week

Systemic Inflammation Combined with Neonatal Cerebellar Hemorrhage Aggravates Long-Term Structural and Functional Outcomes in a Mouse Model

By August 17, 2017August 21st, 2017No Comments

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 This week we profile a recent publication in the Journal of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
from Sophie Tremblay (below) and Dr. Daniel Goldowitz (above) at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics

Can you provide a brief overview of your lab’s current research focus?

One of our research focus areas is to understand how the disruption of the developing cerebellum may cause developmental disorders in infants. By establishing an animal model, we can make a good facsimile of the human pathology that we can explore in the mouse to test new protective interventions in humans.

What is the significance of the findings in this publication?

Infants born preterm are highly susceptible to various environmental stressors during their first few weeks of life. Their brain, in particular their cerebellum, are in active growth and any changes that might interfere with this growth process may lead to developmental problems. Despite our capacity to detect and diagnose diverse brain insults, we still poorly understand the underlining mechanisms affecting cerebellar growth. We have developed a novel translational animal model mimicking preterm cerebellar injury leading to cerebellar-associated problems. By combining a haemorrhagic event and a concomitant infection in our model, we are able to reproduce neonatal pathological motor and long-term cognitive problems described in preterm infants diagnosed with cerebellar alterations. Microglia, the innate immune cells of the brain, seem to be a key effector in the pathological process of these cerebellar alterations affecting mostly the cerebellar white matter. This new translational model can serve as an entrée to explore the impact of cerebellar preterm damage and lead to new protective interventions for the developing cerebellum in preterm infants.

What are the next steps for this research?

We are now moving on to understand how brain innate immune cells contribute to this pathological process affecting the developing cerebellum in preterm infants.

This work was supported by:

Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN), CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), and FRQS (Fond de Recherche Santé Québec).

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