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Tamoxifen exerts direct and microglia-mediated effects preventing neuroinflammatory changes in the adult mouse hippocampal neurogenic niche.

Glia 2024 March 22
Tamoxifen-inducible systems are widely used in research to control Cre-mediated gene deletion in genetically modified animals. Beyond Cre activation, tamoxifen also exerts off-target effects, whose consequences are still poorly addressed. Here, we investigated the impact of tamoxifen on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced neuroinflammatory responses, focusing on the neurogenic activity in the adult mouse dentate gyrus. We demonstrated that a four-day LPS treatment led to an increase in microglia, astrocytes and radial glial cells with concomitant reduction of newborn neurons. These effects were counteracted by a two-day tamoxifen pre-treatment. Through selective microglia depletion, we elucidated that both LPS and tamoxifen influenced astrogliogenesis via microglia mediated mechanisms, while the effects on neurogenesis persisted even in a microglia-depleted environment. Notably, changes in radial glial cells resulted from a combination of microglia-dependent and -independent mechanisms. Overall, our data reveal that tamoxifen treatment per se does not alter the balance between adult neurogenesis and astrogliogenesis but does modulate cellular responses to inflammatory stimuli exerting a protective role within the adult hippocampal neurogenic niche.

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