Pathological conditions such as epilepsy cause misregulation of adult neural stem/progenitor populations in the adult hippocampus in mice, and the resulting abnormal neurogenesis leads to impairment in learning and memory. However, how animals cope with abnormal neurogenesis remains unknown. Here we show that microglia in the mouse hippocampus attenuate convulsive seizure-mediated aberrant neurogenesis through the activation of Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), an innate immune sensor known to recognize microbial DNA and trigger inflammatory responses. We found that microglia sense self-DNA from degenerating neurons following seizure, and secrete tumour necrosis factor-α, resulting in attenuation of aberrant neurogenesis. Furthermore, TLR9 deficiency exacerbated seizure-induced cognitive decline and recurrent seizure severity. Our findings thus suggest the existence of bidirectional communication between the innate immune and nervous systems for the maintenance of adult brain integrity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology