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      Inhibition of Constitutive Nitric Oxide Production Increases the Severity of Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Sickness Behaviour: A Role for TNF-α

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          Administration of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) to rodents induces hypophagia, body weight loss and hypolocomotion, a constellation of symptoms collectively referred to as ‘sickness behaviour’. We examined the role of the gaseous transmitter nitric oxide (NO) in mediating LPS-induced sickness behaviour in rats. Treatment with the non-selective NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor N<sup>G</sup>-nitro- L-arginine ( L-NA) (20 mg/kg; i.p.) increased the severity of LPS-induced sickness behaviour in rats, suggesting that endogenous NO does not act as a mediator of LPS-induced sickness behaviour, but may rather have a protective role, acting in an inhibitory feedback manner to limit LPS-induced sickness. To evaluate the role of the different NOS isoforms in this response, we examined the effect of the neuronal NOS inhibitor, 7-nitroindazole (7-NI; 25 and 50 mg/kg; i.p.), and the inducible NOS inhibitor, aminoguanidine (AGN; 50 and 100 mg/kg; i.p.). Neither 7-NI nor AGN significantly altered LPS-induced sickness behaviour. Therefore, it is likely that the endothelial isoform of NOS mediates the effect of L-NA on LPS-induced sickness behaviour. As pro-inflammatory cytokines are mediators of LPS-induced sickness behaviour, we examined the effect of L-NA (20 mg/kg; i.p.) on LPS-induced interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α production. L-NA increased LPS-induced TNF-α without significantly altering IL-1β or IL-6 production. Moreover, pre-treatment with the TNF-α inhibitor pentoxyfilline (25 mg/kg; i.p.) largely reversed the augmenting effect of L-NA on LPS-induced sickness behaviour, suggesting that the ability of L-NA to increase TNF-α production underpinned its ability to increase the severity of sickness. In conclusion, L-NA increases the severity of LPS-induced sickness behaviour, most likely by blocking the tonic inhibitory action of constitutively produced NO on TNF-α production.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Cytokine-induced sickness behaviour: mechanisms and implications.

          Sickness behaviour represents the expression of the adaptive reorganization of the priorities of the host during an infectious episode. This process is triggered by pro-inflammatory cytokines produced by peripheral phagocytic cells in contact with invading micro-organisms. The peripheral immune message is relayed to the brain via a fast neural pathway and a slower humoral pathway, resulting in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in macrophage-like cells and microglia in the brain. The cellular and molecular components of this previously unsuspected system are being progressively identified. These advances are opening new avenues for understanding brain disorders, including depression.
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            Selective pharmacological inhibition of distinct nitric oxide synthase isoforms.

            Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in physiological and pathophysiological conditions by three distinct isoforms of NO synthase (NOS): endothelial NOS (ecNOS), inducible NOS (iNOS), and brain NOS (bNOS). Selective inhibition of iNOS may be beneficial in various forms of shock and inflammation, whereas inhibition of bNOS may protect against neuroinjury. This article surveys the enzymatic mechanism of NO production, lists the strategies and pharmacological tools for selective inhibition of distinct NOS isoforms, and considers the side-effects of the various approaches. Selective inhibition of NOS isoforms is achieved by: (a) targeting the differential co-factor (calmodulin or tetrahydrobiopterin) requirement of various NOS isoforms, and NOS; (b) targeting the differential substrate requirements of cells expressing various isoforms of NOS (L-arginine uptake blockers or arginase); (c) the use of pharmacological agents that are selectively taken up by cells expressing various isoforms of NOS (7-nitroindazole); or (d) developing pharmacological NOS inhibitors with isoform specificity. The amino acid-based NOS inhibitor, NG-nitro-L-arginine, shows a preference for ecNOS and bNOS over iNOS, whereas L-N6-(1-iminoethyl)lysine is selective for iNOS over bNOS. Certain non-amino acid-based small molecules, such as aminoguanidine and certain S-alkylated isothioureas, also express selectivity towards iNOS and have anti-inflammatory and anti-shock properties. 7-nitroindazole, a bNOS-selective inhibitor, protects in central nervous system injury. Clearly, there are a number of distinct approaches that are worthy of further research efforts in order to achieve even more selective targeting of various NOS isoforms
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              Depression, stress and immunological activation: The role of cytokines in depressive disorders


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                August 2003
                15 August 2003
                : 10
                : 6
                : 367-378
                Department of Pharmacology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
                71478 Neuroimmunomodulation 2002–03;10:367–378
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 8, Tables: 2, References: 53, Pages: 12
                Original Paper


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