American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

A Novel Rodent Model of Autism: Intraventricular Infusions of Propionic Acid Increase Locomotor Activity and Induce Neuroinflammation and Oxidative Stress in Discrete Regions of Adult Rat Brain

Derrick F. MacFabe, Karina Rodríguez-Capote, Jennifer E. Hoffman, Andrew E. Franklin, Yalda Mohammad-Asef, A. Roy Taylor, Francis Boon, Donald P. Cain, Martin Kavaliers, Fred Possmayer and Klaus-Peter Ossenkopp

DOI : 10.3844/ajbbsp.2008.146.166

American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Volume 4, Issue 2

Pages 146-166

Abstract

Innate neuroinflammatory changes, increased oxidative stress and disorders of glutathione metabolism may be involved in the pathophysiology of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Propionic acid (PPA) is a dietary and gut bacterial short chain fatty acid which can produce brain and behavioral changes reminiscent of ASD following intraventricular infusion in rats. Adult Long-Evans rats were given intraventricular infusions of either PPA (.26M, 4μl animal-1) or phosphate buffered saline (PBS) vehicle, twice daily for 7 days. Immediately following the second daily infusion, the locomotor activity of each rat was assessed in an automated open field (Versamax) for 30 min. PPA-treated rats showed significant increases in locomotor activity compared to PBS vehicle controls. Following the last treatment day, specific brain regions were assessed for neuroinflammatory or oxidative stress markers. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed reactive astrogliosis (GFAP), activated microglia (CD68, Iba1) without apoptotic cell loss (Caspase 3’ and NeuN) in hippocampus and white matter (external capsule) of PPA treated rats. Biomarkers of protein and lipid peroxidation, total glutathione (GSH) as well as the activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase, glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) were examined in brain homogenates. Some brain regions of PPA treated animals (neocortex, hippocampus, thalamus, striatum) showed increased lipid and protein oxidation accompanied by decreased total GSH in neocortex. Catalase activity was decreased in most brain regions of PPA treated animals suggestive of reduced antioxidant enzymatic activity. GPx and GR activity was relatively unaffected by PPA treatment while GST was increased, perhaps indicating involvement of GSH in the removal of PPA or related catabolites. Impairments in GSH and catalase levels may render CNS cells more susceptible to oxidative stress from a variety of toxic insults. Overall, these findings are consistent with those found in ASD patients and further support intraventricular PPA administration as an animal model of ASD.

Copyright

© 2008 Derrick F. MacFabe, Karina Rodríguez-Capote, Jennifer E. Hoffman, Andrew E. Franklin, Yalda Mohammad-Asef, A. Roy Taylor, Francis Boon, Donald P. Cain, Martin Kavaliers, Fred Possmayer and Klaus-Peter Ossenkopp. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.