Minimal penetration of lipopolysaccharide across the murine blood-brain barrier

Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Jan;24(1):102-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.09.001. Epub 2009 Sep 6.


LPS given peripherally or into the brain induces a neuroinflammatory response. How peripheral LPS induces its effects on brain is not clear, but one mechanism is that LPS crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB). Alternatively, LPS acts outside the BBB by stimulating afferent nerves, acting at circumventricular organs, and altering BBB permeabilities and functions. Here, we labeled LPS with radioactive iodine (I-LPS) and coinjected it with radioactively labeled albumin (I-Alb) which acted as a vascular space marker. Measurable amounts of I-LPS associated with the BBB, most reversibly bound to brain endothelia. Brain endothelia also sequestered small amounts of I-LPS and about 0.025% of an intravenously injected dose of I-LPS crossed the BBB to enter the CNS. Disruption of the BBB with repeated injections of LPS did not enhance I-LPS uptake. Based on dose-response curves in the literature of the amounts of LPS needed to stimulate brain neuroimmune events, it is unlikely that enough peripherally administered LPS enters the CNS to invoke those events except possibly at the highest doses used and for the most sensitive brain functions. I-LPS injected into the lateral ventricle of the brain entered the circulation with the reabsorption of cerebrospinal fluid (bulk flow) as previously described. In conclusion, brain uptake of circulating I-LPS is so low that most effects of peripherally administered LPS are likely mediated through LPS receptors located outside the BBB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism*
  • Capillaries / metabolism
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Lipopolysaccharides / blood
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Octanols / chemistry
  • Salmonella enterica / chemistry
  • Solubility


  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Octanols