Purpose: We have previously shown that inhibition of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor- (TNF)-alpha exacerbates the inflammatory process of EIU. To further examine this paradoxic phenomenon, we investigated here the effect on EIU of VIP, a neuropeptide that inbibits TNF-alpha production.
Methods: VIP was injected concurrently with endotoxin at doses that induce EIU or lethality in mice. Severity of EIU was measured by counting infiltrating cells in eye sections, at 1 or 5 days post endotoxin injection. Survival of mice was monitored periodically, while serum levels of TNF-alpha, interleukin-(IL)-1beta and IL-10 were determined by caputure ELISA.
Results: Treatment with VIP exacerbated EIU but provided partial protection from the lethal endotoxin effect. VIP treatment also reduced serum levels of TNF-alpha and IL-1beta, but increased levels of IL-10.
Conclusion: This study further established the paradoxical observation that EIU is exacerbated by lowering the levels of circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines, in particular TNF-alpha.