Urinary Tract Infections Impair Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis

Batoul Darwish, Farah Chamaa, Bassel Awada, Nada Lawand, Nayef E Saadé, Antoine G Abou Fayad, Wassim Abou-Kheir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Previous studies have suggested a link between urinary tract infections (UTIs) and cognitive impairment. One possible contributing factor for UTI-induced cognitive changes that has not yet been investigated is a potential alteration in hippocampal neurogenesis. In this study, we aim to investigate the effect of UTI on brain plasticity by specifically examining alterations in neurogenesis. Adult male Sprague Dawley rats received an intra-urethral injection of an Escherichia coli (E. coli) clinical isolate (108 CFU/mL). We found that rats with a UTI (CFU/mL ≥ 105) had reduced proliferation of neural stem cells (NSCs) at an early time point post infection (day 4) and neurogenesis at a later time point (day 34). This was associated with the decreased expression in mRNA of BDNF, NGF, and FGF2, and elevated expression of IL-1β in the hippocampus at 6 h post infection, but with no changes in optical intensity of the microglia and astrocytes. In addition, infected rats spent less time exploring a novel arm in the Y-maze test. Treatment with an anti-inflammatory drug did not revert the effect on NSCs, while treatment with antibiotics further decreased the basal level of their proliferation. This study presents novel findings on the impact of urinary tract infections on hippocampal neurogenesis that could be correlated with cognitive impairment.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 9 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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