BioScience Trends. 2020;14(4):271-278. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2020.03262)

Regulatory effects of Ningdong granule on microglia-mediated neuroinflammation in a rat model of Tourette's syndrome

Zhao L, Cheng N, Sun B, Wang SZ, Li AY, Wang ZX, Wang Y, Qi FH


Tourette's syndrome (TS) is an inherited neurologic disorder characterized by involuntary stereotyped motor and vocal tics. Its pathogenesis is still unclear and its treatment remains limited. Recent research has suggested the involvement of immune mechanisms in the pathophysiology of TS. Microglia are the brain's resident innate immune cells. They can mediate neuroinflammation and regulate brain development and homeostasis. A traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ningdong granule (NDG), has been found to be efficacious in the treatment of TS while causing few adverse reactions. In the current study, a rat model of 3,3'-iminodipropionitrile (IDPN)-induced TS was used to explore the regulating effects and mechanisms of NDG on microglia-mediated neuroinflammation. IDNP led to robust pathological changes and neurobehavioral complications, with activation of microglia in the striatum of rats with TS. After activation by IDNP, microglia strongly responded to this specific injury, and TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1 were released in the striatum and/or serum of rats with TS. Interestingly, NDG inhibited the activation of microglia and decreased the abnormal expression of TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1 in the striatum and/or serum of rats with TS, thus controlling tics. However, there were no significant changes in the striatum and/or serum of rats with TS after treatment with haloperidol. The anti-TS action of haloperidol might occur not through microglial activation and neuroinflammation but through the DAT system, thus controlling tics. In conclusion, microglia might play key roles in mediating neuroinflammatory responses in TS, triggering the release of TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP- 1. NDG inhibited tics in rats with TS, and this mechanism may be associated with a reduction in the increased number of activated microglia and a decrease in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines in the striatum and/or serum.

KEYWORDS: Tourette's syndrome (TS), Ningdong granule (NDG), microglia, immunoregulation, neuroinflammation

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