Acute fasting inhibits central caspase-1 activity reducing anxiety-like behavior and increasing novel object and object location recognition
The effects of acute fasting on anxiety-like behavior.
APR 14, 2009
Written by Albert E Towers, Maci L. Oelschlager, Jay Patel, Stephen J. Gainey, Robert McCusker, Gregory G. Freund
View full article HERE.
Inflammation within the central nervous system (CNS) is frequently comorbid with anxiety. Importantly, the pro-inflammatory cytokine most commonly associated with anxiety is IL-1β. The bioavailability and activity of IL-1β is regulated by caspase-1-dependent proteolysis vis-a-vis the inflammasome. Thus, interventions regulating the activation or activity of caspase-1 should reduce anxiety especially in states that foster IL-1β maturation. Male C57BL/6j, C57BL/6j mice treated with the capase-1 inhibitor biotin-YVADcmk, caspase-1 knockout (KO) mice and IL-1R1 KO mice were fasted for 24 hours or allowed ad libitum access to food. Immediately after fasting, caspase-1 activity was measured in brain region homogenates while activated caspase-1 was localized in the brain by immunohistochemistry. Mouse anxiety-like behavior and cognition were tested using the elevated zero maze and novel object/object location tasks, respectively. A 24 h fast in mice reduced the activity of caspase-1 in whole brain and in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, hippocampus, and hypothalamus by 35%, 25%, 40%, 40%, and 40% respectively. A 24 h fast also reduced anxiety-like behavior by 40% and increased novel object and object location recognition by 21% and 31%, respectively. IL-1β protein, however, was not reduced in the brain by fasting. Intracerebroventricular (ICV) administration of YVAD decreased caspase-1 activity in the prefrontal cortex and amygdala by 55%, respectively leading to a 64% reduction in anxiety like behavior. Importantly, when caspase-1 KO or IL1-R1 KO mice are fasted, no fasting-dependent reduction in anxiety-like behavior was observed. Results indicate that fasting decrease anxiety-like behavior and improves memory by a mechanism tied to reducing caspase-1 activity throughout the brain.