Hypoxia-Induced Neuroinflammation and Learning–Memory Impairments in Adult Zebrafish Are Suppressed by Glucosamine

Yunkyoung Lee, Sujeong Lee, Ji Won Park, Ji Sun Hwang, Sang Min Kim, In Kyoon Lyoo, Chang Joong Lee, Inn Oc Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This study investigated changes in neuroinflammation and cognitive function in adult zebrafish exposed to acute hypoxia and protective effects of glucosamine (GlcN) against hypoxia-induced brain damage. The survival rate of zebrafish following exposure to hypoxia was improved by GlcN pretreatment. Moreover, hypoxia-induced upregulation of neuroglobin, NOS2α, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and S100β in zebrafish was suppressed by GlcN. Hypoxia stimulated cell proliferation in the telencephalic ventral domain and in cerebellum subregions. GlcN decreased the number of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells in the telencephalon region, but not in cerebellum regions. Transient motor neuron defects, assessed by measuring the locomotor and exploratory activity of zebrafish exposed to hypoxia recovered quickly. GlcN did not affect hypoxia-induced motor activity changes. In passive avoidance tests, hypoxia impaired learning and memory ability, deficits that were rescued by GlcN. A learning stimulus increased the nuclear translocation of phosphorylated cAMP response element binding protein (p-CREB), an effect that was greatly inhibited by hypoxia. GlcN restored nuclear p-CREB after a learning trial in hypoxia-exposed zebrafish. The neurotransmitters, γ-aminobutyric acid and glutamate, were increased after hypoxia in the zebrafish brain, and GlcN further increased their levels. In contrast, acetylcholine levels were reduced by hypoxia and restored by GlcN. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitor physostigmine partially reversed the impaired learning and memory of hypoxic zebrafish. This study represents the first examination of the molecular mechanisms underlying hypoxia-induced memory and learning defects in a zebrafish model. Our results further suggest that GlcN-associated hexosamine metabolic pathway could be an important therapeutic target for hypoxic brain damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8738-8753
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • CREB
  • Glucosamine
  • Hypoxia
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Zebrafish


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