Impaired neurogenesis with reactive astrocytosis in the hippocampus in a porcine model of acquired hydrocephalus

Maria Garcia-Bonilla, Arjun Nair, Jason Moore, Leandro Castaneyra-Ruiz, Sarah H. Zwick, Ryan N. Dilger, Stephen A. Fleming, Rebecca K. Golden, Michael R. Talcott, Albert M. Isaacs, David D. Limbrick, James P. McAllister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Hydrocephalus is a neurological disease with an incidence of 0.3–0.7 per 1000 live births in the United States. Ventriculomegaly, periventricular white matter alterations, inflammation, and gliosis are among the neuropathologies associated with this disease. We hypothesized that hippocampus structure and subgranular zone neurogenesis are altered in untreated hydrocephalus and correlate with recognition memory deficits. Methods: Hydrocephalus was induced by intracisternal kaolin injections in domestic juvenile pigs (43.6 ± 9.8 days). Age-matched sham controls received similar saline injections. MRI was performed to measure ventricular volume, and/or hippocampal and perirhinal sizes at 14 ± 4 days and 36 ± 8 days post-induction. Recognition memory was assessed one week before and after kaolin induction. Histology and immunohistochemistry in the hippocampus were performed at sacrifice. Results: The hippocampal width and the perirhinal cortex thickness were decreased (p < 0.05) in hydrocephalic pigs 14 ± 4 days post-induction. At sacrifice (36 ± 8 days post-induction), significant expansion of the cerebral ventricles was detected (p = 0.005) in hydrocephalic pigs compared with sham controls. The area of the dorsal hippocampus exhibited a reduction (p = 0.035) of 23.4% in the hydrocephalic pigs at sacrifice. Likewise, in hydrocephalic pigs, the percentages of neuronal precursor cells (doublecortin+ cells) and neurons decreased (p < 0.01) by 32.35%, and 19.74%, respectively, in the subgranular zone of the dorsal hippocampus. The percentage of reactive astrocytes (vimentin+) was increased (p = 0.041) by 48.7%. In contrast, microglial cells were found to decrease (p = 0.014) by 55.74% in the dorsal hippocampus in hydrocephalic pigs. There was no difference in the recognition index, a summative measure of learning and memory, one week before and after the induction of hydrocephalus. Conclusion: In untreated juvenile pigs, acquired hydrocephalus caused morphological alterations, reduced neurogenesis, and increased reactive astrocytosis in the hippocampus and perirhinal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114354
JournalExperimental Neurology
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Acquired hydrocephalus
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Perirhinal cortex
  • Pig model
  • Recognition memory


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