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Transcriptomic and cellular decoding of functional brain connectivity changes reveal regional brain vulnerability to pro- and anti-inflammatory therapies

Martins, D., Dipasquale, O., Davies, K., Cooper, E., Tibble, J., Veronese, M., Frigo, M., Williams, S.C.R., Turkheimer, F., Cercignani, M. ORCID: and Harrison, N.A. ORCID: 2022. Transcriptomic and cellular decoding of functional brain connectivity changes reveal regional brain vulnerability to pro- and anti-inflammatory therapies. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 102 , pp. 312-323. 10.1016/j.bbi.2022.03.004

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Background Systemic inflammation induces acute changes in mood, motivation and cognition that closely resemble those observed in depressed individuals. However, the mechanistic pathways linking peripheral inflammation to depression-like psychopathology via intermediate effects on brain function remain incompletely understood. Methods We combined data from 30 patients initiating interferon-α treatment for Hepatitis-C and 20 anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) therapy for inflammatory arthritis and used resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate acute effects of each treatment on regional global brain connectivity (GBC). We leveraged transcriptomic data from the Allen Human Brain Atlas to uncover potential biological and cellular pathways underpinning regional vulnerability to GBC changes induced by each treatment. Results Interferon-α and anti-TNF therapies both produced differential small-to-medium sized decreases in regional GBC. However, these were observed within distinct brain regions and the regional patterns of GBC changes induced by each treatment did not correlate suggesting independent underlying processes. Further, the spatial distribution of these differential GBC decreases could be captured by multivariate patterns of constitutive regional expression of genes respectively related to: i) neuroinflammation and glial cells; and ii) glutamatergic neurotransmission and neurons. The extent to which each participant expressed patterns of GBC changes aligning with these patterns of transcriptomic vulnerability also correlated with both acute treatment-induced changes in interleukin-6 (IL-6) and, for Interferon-α, longer-term treatment-associated changes in depressive symptoms. Conclusions Together, we present two transcriptomic models separately linking regional vulnerability to the acute effects of interferon-α and anti-TNF treatments on brain function to glial neuroinflammation and glutamatergic neurotransmission. These findings generate hypotheses about two potential brain mechanisms through which bidirectional changes in peripheral inflammation may contribute to the development/resolution of psychopathology.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0889-1591
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 March 2022
Date of Acceptance: 3 March 2022
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 16:52

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