Hippocampal interleukin-1 mediates stress-enhanced fear learning: A potential role for astrocyte-derived interleukin-1β

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity

Volume 67, January 2018, Pages 355-363

Author links open overlay panelMeghan E.JonesChristina L.LebonvilleJacqueline E.PanicciaMegan E.BalentineKathryn J.ReissnerDonald T.LysleUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, United States

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•Blocking DH stress-induced IL-1 signaling prevents stress-enhanced fear learning.

•Hippocampal Iba-1, but not GFAP, is attenuated 48 h after stress exposure.

•Stress-induced hippocampal IL-1β is colocalized primarily with GFAP.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is associated with immune dysregulation. We have previously shown that severe stress exposure in a preclinical animal model of the disorder, stress-enhanced fear learning (SEFL), is associated with an increase in hippocampal interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and that blocking central IL-1 after the severe stress prevents the development of SEFL. Here, we tested whether blocking hippocampal IL-1 signaling is sufficient to prevent enhanced fear learning and identified the cellular source of stress-induced IL-1β in this region. Experiment 1 tested whether intra-dorsal hippocampal (DH) infusions of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA, 1.25 µg per hemisphere) 24 and 48 h after stress exposure prevents the development of enhanced fear learning. Experiment 2 used triple fluorescence immunohistochemistry to examine hippocampal alterations in IL-1β, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), an astrocyte-specific marker, and ionized calcium binding adaptor molecule -1 (Iba-1), a microglial-specific marker, 48 h after exposure to the severe stressor of the SEFL paradigm. Intra-DH IL-1RA prevented SEFL and stress-induced IL-1β was primarily colocalized with astrocytes in the hippocampus. Further, hippocampal GFAP immunoreactivity was not altered, whereas hippocampal Iba-1 immunoreactivity was significantly attenuated following severe stress. These data suggest that hippocampal IL-1 signaling is critical to the development of SEFL and that astrocytes are a predominant source of stress-induced IL-1β.

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About S. R. Zelenz 119 Articles
S.R. Zelenz has worked in education for 20 years. Working with students from all walks of life, cultures, races, and social diversity, Zelenz’s research in Educational Leadership led to finding a better way to approach learning for students with trauma histories. Many were juvenile offenders, gang members, diagnosed with varying behavioral disorders, or had family histories of violence, murder, or narcissistic parenting. This research could not be effectively accomplished without further understanding: how epigenetic trauma inheritance may be impacting these students; how brain development from trauma may be impacting their behavioral and emotional development; as well as deep understanding of psychology and its varying classifications for behavioral and personality disorders. The goal is to find solutions for changing the conversation and making a real difference for these students. She has also worked with nonprofits of varying focus areas for the last 25 years. Her undergraduate degree in Arts Administration and Music prepared her for managing nonprofits of any size as well as procuring funding so that they can achieve their goals. Pairing her nonprofit background with her education background, she has been able to make a difference for over 200 nonprofits worldwide, written curriculum for schools across the globe, and assisted many arts organizations through performance and management.