Overexpression of Slit2 decreases neuronal excitotoxicity, accelerates glymphatic clearance, and improves cognition in a multiple microinfarcts model


He Xiao-fei,Li Ge,Li Li-li,Li Ming-yue,Liang Feng-yin,Chen Xi,Hu Xi-quanORCID


Abstract Background Cerebral microinfarcts (MIs) lead to progressive cognitive impairments in the elderly, and there is currently no effective preventative strategy due to uncertainty about the underlying pathogenic mechanisms. One possibility is the dysfunction of GABAergic transmission and ensuing excitotoxicity. Dysfunction of GABAergic transmission induces excitotoxicity, which contributes to stroke pathology, but the mechanism has kept unknown. The secreted leucine-rich repeat (LRR) family protein slit homologue 2 (Slit2) upregulates GABAergic activity and protects against global cerebral ischemia, but the neuroprotective efficacy of Slit2 against MIs has not been examined. Methods Middle-aged Wild type (WT) and Slit2-Tg mice were divided into sham and MI treatment groups. MIs were induced in parietal cortex by laser-evoked arteriole occlusion. Spatial memory was then compared between sham and MI groups using the Morris water maze (MWM) task. In addition, neuronal activity, blood brain barrier (BBB) permeability, and glymphatic clearance in peri-infarct areas were compared using two-photon imaging, while GABAergic transmission, microglial activation, neuronal loss, and altered cortical connectivity were compared by immunofluorescent staining or western blotting. Results Microinfarcts increased the amplitude and frequency of spontaneous intracellular Ca2+ signals, reduced neuronal survival and connectivity within parietal cortex, decreased the number of GABAergic interneurons and expression of vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT), induced neuroinflammation, and impaired both glymphatic clearance and spatial memory. Alternatively, Slit2 overexpression attenuated dysfunctional neuronal Ca2+ signaling, protected against neuronal death in the peri-infarct area as well as loss of parietal cortex connectivity, increased GABAergic interneuron number and VGAT expression, attenuated neuroinflammation, and improved both glymphatic clearance and spatial memory. Conclusion Our results strongly suggest that overexpression of Slit2 protected against the dysfunction in MIs, which is a potential therapeutic target for cognition impairment in the elderly.


the National Natural Science Foundation of China

the Science and Technology Planning Key Project of Guangzhou

Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation

the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Major Neurological Diseases

the Southern China International Cooperation Base for Early Intervention and Functional Rehabilitation of Neurological Diseases

the 66 batch of Chinese postdoctoral science foundation


Springer Science and Business Media LLC


Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience,Molecular Biology

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