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School of Pharmacy


Pharmaceutical Sciences


Systemic exposure to the inflammagen and bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been widely used to evaluate inflammation and sickness behavior. While many inflam- matory conditions occur in the periphery, it is well established that peripheral inflammation can affect the brain. Neuroinflammation, the elaboration of proinflammatory mediators in the CNS, commonly is associated with behavioral symptoms (e.g., lethargy, anhedonia, anorexia, depression, etc.) termed sickness behavior. Stressors have been shown to inter- act with and alter neuroinflammatory responses and associated behaviors. Here, we exam- ined the effects of the stress hormone, corticosterone (CORT), as a stressor mimic, on neuroinflammation induced with a single injection (2mg/kg, s.c.) or inhalation exposure (7.5 μg/m3) of LPS or polyinosinic:polycytidylic acid (PIC; 12mg/kg, i.p.) in adult male C57BL/6J mice. CORT was given in the drinking water (200 mg/L) for 1 week or every other week for 90 days followed by LPS. Proinflammatory cytokine expression (TNFα, IL-6, CCL2, IL-1β, LIF, and OSM) was measured by qPCR. The activation of the neuroinflammation Tyr705 downstream signaling activator, STAT3, was assessed by immunoblot of pSTAT3 . The presence of astrogliosis was assessed by immunoassay of GFAP. Acute exposure to LPS caused brain-wide neuroinflammation without producing astrogliosis; exposure to CORT for 1 week caused marked exacerbation of the LPS-induced neuroinflammation. This neuroinflammatory “priming” by CORT was so pronounced that sub-neuroinflammatory exposures by inhalation instigated neuroinflammation when paired with prior CORT expo- sure. This effect also was extended to another common inflammagen, PIC (a viral mimic). Furthermore, a single week of CORT exposure maintained the potential for priming for 30 days, while intermittent exposure to CORT for up to 90 days synergistically primed the LPS- induced neuroinflammatory response. These findings highlight the possibility for an isolated inflammatory event to be exacerbated by a temporally distant stressful stimulus and demon- strates the potential for recurrent stress to greatly aggravate chronic inflammatory disorders.

Source Citation

Kelly KA, Michalovicz LT, Miller JV, Castranova V, Miller DB, O’Callaghan JP (2018) Prior exposure to corticosterone markedly enhances and prolongs the neuroinflammatory response to systemic challenge with LPS. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190546.


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