Background: Postoperative cognitive dysfunction is a clinical entity that is associated with poor outcome. We determined the effectiveness of amantadine in reducing surgery-induced cognitive impairment and the role of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in this effect.
Methods: Four-month old male Fischer 344 rats were subjected to right carotid exposure under intravenous anesthesia. Some rats received intraperitoneal injection of 25 mg/kg/day amantadine for 3 days with the first dose at 15 min before the surgery or intracerebroventricular injection of GDNF or an anti-GDNF antibody at the end of surgery. One week later, rats were started to be tested by Barnes maze and fear conditioning. Hippocampus was harvested at 6 h, 24 h or 10 days after the surgery for biochemical analysis. C8-B4 cells, a microglial cell line, were pretreated with 1 ng/ml GDNF for 30 min before being exposed to 5 ng/ml lipopolysaccharide for 2 h.
Results: Surgery increased the time to identify the target box in the Barnes maze when tested 1 day [22 (median) (11–66) (interquartile range) of control group vs. 158 (29–180) of surgery group, n = 15, P = 0.022) or 8 days after the training sessions and reduced context-related freezing behavior in the fear conditioning test. These effects were attenuated by amantadine (25 (14–90), n = 15, P = 0.029 compared with surgery group at 1 day after the training sessions in Barnes maze) and intracerebroventricular GDNF. Amantadine increased GDNF that was co-localized with glial fibrillary acidic protein, an astrocytic marker, in the hippocampus. Intracerebroventricular injection of an anti-GDNF antibody but not the denatured antibody blocked the effects of amantadine on cognition. Surgery induced neuroinflammation that was inhibited by amantadine. Lipopolysaccharide increased interleukin 1β production from C8-B4 cells. This effect was inhibited by GDNF.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that amantadine attenuated surgery-induced learning and memory impairment. This effect may be mediated by GDNF via inhibition of neuroinflammation.