Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced fever without reduction of circulating cytokines in guinea-pigs.
ABSTRACT It was recently demonstrated that the diffusible messenger molecule nitric oxide (NO) is involved in the febrile response of rats and rabbits to exogenous or endogenous pyrogens. In this study we have investigated the effects of systemic administration of the NO-synthase inhibitor N-nitro-l-arginine-methylester (l-NAME) on abdominal temperature and on lipopolysaccharide- (LPS-) induced fever in guinea-pigs. We further studied the effects of l-NAME on the LPS-induced circulating cytokine network by measurement of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in blood plasma during the time course of fever. At a dose of 10 mg/kg, intra-arterial injection of l-NAME per se had no influence on the abdominal temperature of guinea-pigs, while administration of 50 mg/kg l-NAME evoked a pronounced fall of body temperature which lasted about 12 h. When injected simultaneously with 10 microgram/kg LPS into the arterial circulation, the lower dose of l-NAME that did not decrease abdominal temperature per se caused a significant attenuation of LPS-induced fever due to suppression of the second phase of the biphasic febrile response. The LPS-induced cytokine network remained unimpaired by the treatment with l-NAME. Peak activity of TNF in plasma (measured 60 min after LPS injection) was 20,596+/-2368 pg/ml in control animals and 18,900+/-4778 pg/ml in guinea-pigs treated with l-NAME. In addition, circulating levels of IL-6 were not statistically different between both groups of animals 60 min or 180 min after administration of LPS along with l-NAME or vehicle. The results confirm that endogenous NO formation has a role in the generation of LPS-induced fever and demonstrate that the attenuation of fever by inhibition of NO-synthase is independent of the circulating LPS-induced cytokine network.