Cisplatin induces BDNF downregulation in middle-aged female rat model while BDNF enhancement attenuates cisplatin neurotoxicity.

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Experimental neurology


Ampakine; BDNF; Chemobrain); Cisplatin; Hippocampal neurons; Neurotoxicity; Ovarian cancer; PSD-95; Riluzole; cancer-related cognitive impairments; california; burbank


Cancer-related cognitive impairments (CRCI) are neurological complications associated with cancer treatment, and greatly affect cancer survivors' quality of life. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) plays an essential role in neurogenesis, learning and memory. The reduction of BDNF is associated with the decrease in cognitive function in various neurological disorders. Few pre-clinical studies have reported on the effects of chemotherapy and medical stress on BDNF levels and cognition. The present study aimed to compare the effects of medical stress and cisplatin on serum BDNF levels and cognitive function in 9-month-old female Sprague Dawley rats to age-matched controls. Serum BDNF levels were collected longitudinally during cisplatin treatment, and cognitive function was assessed by novel object recognition (NOR) 14 weeks post-cisplatin initiation. Terminal BDNF levels were collected 24 weeks after cisplatin initiation. In cultured hippocampal neurons, we screened three neuroprotective agents, riluzole (an approved treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), as well as the ampakines CX546 and CX1739. We assessed dendritic arborization by Sholl analysis and dendritic spine density by quantifying postsynaptic density-95 (PSD-95) puncta. Cisplatin and exposure to medical stress reduced serum BDNF levels and impaired object discrimination in NOR compared to age-matched controls. Pharmacological BDNF augmentation protected neurons against cisplatin-induced reductions in dendritic branching and PSD-95. Ampakines (CX546 and CX1739) and riluzole did not affect the antitumor efficacy of cisplatin in vitro. In conclusion, we established the first middle-aged rat model of cisplatin-induced CRCI, assessing the contribution of medical stress and longitudinal changes in BDNF levels on cognitive function, although future studies are warranted to assess the efficacy of BDNF enhancement in vivo on synaptic plasticity. Collectively, our results indicate that cancer treatment exerts long-lasting changes in BDNF levels, and support BDNF enhancement as a potential preventative approach to target CRCI with therapeutics that are FDA approved and/or in clinical study for other indications.

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Obstetrics & Gynecology