Article

Stress increases vulnerability to inflammation in the rat prefrontal cortex

Departamento de Bioquímica, Bromatología, Toxicología y Medicina Legal, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla, 41012 Sevilla, Spain.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 06/2006; 26(21):5709-19. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0802-06.2006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Inflammation could be involved in some neurodegenerative disorders that accompany signs of inflammation. However, because sensitivity to inflammation is not equal in all brain structures, a direct relationship is not clear. Our aim was to test whether some physiological circumstances, such as stress, could enhance susceptibility to inflammation in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which shows a relative resistance to inflammation. PFC is important in many brain functions and is a target for some neurodegenerative diseases. We induced an inflammatory process by a single intracortical injection of 2 microg of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a potent proinflammogen, in nonstressed and stressed rats. We evaluated the effect of our treatment on inflammatory markers, neuronal populations, BDNF expression, and behavior of several mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases and the transcription factor cAMP response element-binding protein. Stress strengthens the changes induced by LPS injection: microglial activation and proliferation with an increase in the levels of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha; loss of cells such as astroglia, seen as loss of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity, and neurons, studied by neuronal-specific nuclear protein immunohistochemistry and GAD67 and NMDA receptor 1A mRNAs expression by in situ hybridization. A significant increase in the BDNF mRNA expression and modifications in the levels of MAP kinase phosphorylation were also found. In addition, we observed a protective effect from RU486 [mifepristone (11beta-[p-(dimethylamino)phenyl]-17beta-hydroxy-17-(1-propynyl)estra-4,9-dien-3-one)], a potent inhibitor of the glucocorticoid receptor activation. All of these data show a synergistic effect between inflammation and stress, which could explain the relationship described between stress and some neurodegenerative pathologies.

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