Guillain–Barré syndrome is an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy that is characterized histologically by demyelination of peripheral nerves and nerve roots, infiltrates of T lymphocytes, and an inflammatory response that includes macrophage infiltrates. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) in a rat model of experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN).
Forty male Lewis rats were divided into a control group (N=10), an EAN group (N=10), an EAN group treated with 15 nmol of VIP (N=10), and an EAN group treated with 30 nmol of VIP (N=10). The rat model was created by subcutaneous injection of P2 polypeptide (200 µg P257–81) into the base of the tail. Intraperitoneal injection of VIP was given on day 7. Rats were weighed and functionally evaluated using an EAN score (0–10). On day 16, the rats were euthanized. The sciatic nerve was examined histologically and using immunohistochemistry with antibodies against CD8, CD68, and forkhead box p3 (Foxp3). Serum concentrations of IL-17 and interferon-α (IFN-α) were measured by ELISA on day 16 after creating the EAN model.
The VIP-treated EAN groups had increased body weight and improved EAN scores compared with the untreated EAN group. CD8-positive and CD68-positive cells were significantly reduced in the EAN group treated with 30 nmol of VIP compared with 15 nmol of VIP. Foxp3-positive cells were significantly decreased in both EAN groups treated with VIP, and serum concentrations of IL-17 and IFN-α were significantly lower compared with the untreated EAN group ( P<0.05).