Cerebral Biochemical Pathways in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Adjuvant Arthritis: A Comparative Metabolomic Study

Lutz, Norbert W.; Fernandez, Carla; Pellissier, Jean-François; Cozzone, Patrick J.; Béraud, Evelyne
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Many diseases, including brain disorders, are associated with perturbations of tissue metabolism. However, an often overlooked issue is the impact that inflammations outside the brain may have on brain metabolism. Our main goal was to study similarities and differences between brain metabolite profiles of animals suffering from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and adjuvant arthritis (AA) in Lewis rat models. Our principal objective was the determination of molecular protagonists involved in the metabolism underlying these diseases. EAE was induced by intraplantar injection of complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) and spinal-cord homogenate (SC-H), whereas AA was induced by CFA only. Naive rats served as controls (n = 9 for each group). Two weeks after inoculation, animals were sacrificed, and brains were removed and processed for metabolomic analysis by NMR spectroscopy or for immunohistochemistry. Interestingly, both inflammatory diseases caused similar, though not identical, changes in metabolites involved in regulation of brain cell size and membrane production: among the osmolytes, taurine and the neuronal marker, N-acetylaspartate, were decreased, and the astrocyte marker, myo-inositol, slightly increased in both inoculated groups compared with controls. Also ethanolamine-containing phospholipids, sources of inflammatory agents, and several glycolytic metabolites were increased in both inoculated groups. By contrast, the amino acids, aspartate and isoleucine, were less concentrated in CFA/SC-H and control vs. CFA rats. Our results suggest that inflammatory brain metabolite profiles may indicate the existence of either cerebral (EAE) or extra-cerebral (AA) inflammation. These inflammatory processes may act through distinct pathways that converge toward similar brain metabolic profiles. Our findings open new avenues for future studies aimed at demonstrating whether brain metabolic effects provoked by AA are pain/stress-mediated and/or due to the presence of systemic proinflammatory molecules. Regardless of the nature of these mechanisms, our findings may be of interest for future clinical studies, e.g. by in-vivo magnetic resonance spectroscopy.


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