Lipopolysaccharide-induced dopaminergic cell death in rat midbrain slice cultures: role of inducible nitric oxide synthase and protection by indomethacin

J Neurochem. 2003 Sep;86(5):1201-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01929.x.


Glial cell activation associated with inflammatory reaction may contribute to pathogenic processes of neurodegenerative disorders, through production of several cytotoxic molecules. We investigated the consequences of glial activation by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)/lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in rat midbrain slice cultures. Application of IFN-gamma followed by LPS caused dopaminergic cell death and accompanying increases in nitrite production and lactate dehydrogenase release. Aminoguanidine, an inhibitor of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), or SB203580, an inhibitor of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, prevented dopaminergic cell loss as well as nitrite production. SB203580 also suppressed expression of iNOS and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) induced by IFN-gamma/LPS. A COX inhibitor indomethacin protected dopaminergic neurons from IFN-gamma/LPS-induced injury, whereas selective COX-2 inhibitors such as NS-398 and nimesulide did not. Notably, indomethacin was able to attenuate neurotoxicity of a nitric oxide (NO) donor. Neutralizing antibodies against tumour necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1beta did not inhibit dopaminergic cell death caused by IFN-gamma/LPS, although combined application of these antibodies blocked lactate dehydrogenase release and decrease in the number of non-dopaminergic neurons. These results indicate that iNOS-derived NO plays a crucial role in IFN-gamma/LPS-induced dopaminergic cell death, and that indomethacin exerts protective effect by mechanisms probably related to NO neurotoxicity rather than through COX inhibition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / pharmacology
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indomethacin / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-gamma / toxicity
  • Interleukin-1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity*
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / drug effects*
  • Mesencephalon / enzymology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neuroglia / drug effects
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Donors / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nitrites / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases


  • Antibodies
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Nitric Oxide Donors
  • Nitrites
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Interferon-gamma
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, rat
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Dopamine
  • Indomethacin