Ursolic acid improved demyelination and interstitial fluid drainage disorders in schizophrenia mice


Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2024 Jun 18;56(3):487-494.


OBJECTIVE: To unveil the pathological changes associated with demyelination in schizophrenia (SZ) and its consequential impact on interstitial fluid (ISF) drainage, and to investigate the therapeutic efficacy of ursolic acid (UA) in treating demyelination and the ensuing abnormalities in ISF drainage in SZ.

METHODS: Female C57BL/6J mice, aged 6-8 weeks and weighing (20±2) g, were randomly divided into three groups: control, SZ model, and UA treatment. The control group received intraperitoneal injection (ip) of physiological saline and intragastric administration (ig) of 1% carboxymethylcellulose sodium (CMC-Na). The SZ model group was subjected to ip injection of 2 mg/kg dizocilpine maleate (MK-801) and ig administration of 1% CMC-Na. The UA treatment group underwent ig administration of 25 mg/kg UA and ip injection of 2 mg/kg MK-801. The treatment group received UA pretreatment via ig administration for one week, followed by a two-week drug intervention for all the three groups. Behavioral assessments, including the open field test and prepulse inhibition experiment, were conducted post-modeling. Subsequently, changes in the ISF partition drainage were investigated through fluorescent tracer injection into specific brain regions. Immunofluorescence analysis was employed to examine alterations in aquaporin 4 (AQP4) polarity distribution in the brain and changes in protein expression. Myelin reflex imaging using Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy (LSCM) was utilized to study modifications in myelin within the mouse brain. Quantitative data underwent one-way ANOVA, followed by TukeyHSD for post hoc pairwise comparisons between the groups.

RESULTS: The open field test revealed a significantly longer total distance [(7 949.39±1 140.55) cm vs. (2 831.01±1 212.72) cm, P < 0.001] and increased central area duration [(88.43±22.06) s vs. (56.85±18.58) s, P=0.011] for the SZ model group compared with the controls. The UA treatment group exhibited signifi-cantly reduced total distance [(2 415.80±646.95) cm vs. (7 949.39±1 140.55) cm, P < 0.001] and increased central area duration [(54.78±11.66) s vs. (88.43±22.06) s, P=0.007] compared with the model group. Prepulse inhibition test results demonstrated a markedly lower inhibition rate of the startle reflex in the model group relative to the controls (P < 0.001 for both), with the treatment group displaying significant improvement (P < 0.001 for both). Myelin sheath analysis indicated significant demyelination in the model group, while UA treatment reversed this effect. Fluorescence tracing exhibited a significantly larger tracer diffusion area towards the rostral cortex and reflux area towards the caudal thalamus in the model group relative to the controls [(13.93±3.35) mm2 vs. (2.79±0.94) mm2, P < 0.001 for diffusion area; (2.48±0.38) mm2 vs. (0.05±0.12) mm2, P < 0.001 for reflux area], with significant impairment of drainage in brain regions. The treatment group demonstrated significantly reduced tracer diffusion and reflux areas [(7.93±2.48) mm2 vs. (13.93±3.35) mm2, P < 0.001 for diffusion area; (0.50±0.30) mm2 vs. (2.48±0.38) mm2, P < 0.001 for reflux area]. Immunofluorescence staining revealed disrupted AQP4 polarity distribution and reduced AQP4 protein expression in the model group compared with the controls [(3 663.88±733.77) μm2 vs. (13 354.92±4 054.05) μm2, P < 0.001]. The treatment group exhibited restored AQP4 polarity distribution and elevated AQP4 protein expression [(11 104.68±3 200.04) μm2 vs. (3 663.88±733.77) μm2, P < 0.001].

CONCLUSION: UA intervention ameliorates behavioral performance in SZ mice, Thus alleviating hyperactivity and anxiety symptoms and restoring sensorimotor gating function. The underlying mechanism may involve the improvement of demyelination and ISF drainage dysregulation in SZ mice.