Systemic inflammation gives rise to metabolic and behavioural changes, largely mediated by pro-inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandin production (PGE(2)) at the blood-brain barrier. Despite numerous studies, the exact biological pathways that give rise to these changes remains elusive. This study investigated the mechanisms underlying immune-to-brain communication following systemic inflammation using various anti-inflammatory agents. Mice were pre-treated with selective cyclo-oxygenase (COX) inhibitors, thromboxane synthase inhibitors or dexamethasone, followed by intra-peritoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Changes in body temperature, open-field activity, and burrowing were assessed and mRNA and/or protein levels of inflammatory mediators measured in serum and brain. LPS-induced systemic inflammation resulted in behavioural changes and increased production of IL-6, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha, as well as PGE(2) in serum and brain. Indomethacin and ibuprofen reversed the effect of LPS on behaviour without changing peripheral or central IL-6, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha mRNA levels. In contrast, dexamethasone did not alter LPS-induced behavioural changes, despite complete inhibition of cytokine production. A selective COX-1 inhibitor, piroxicam, but not the selective COX-2 inhibitor, nimesulide, reversed the LPS-induced behavioural changes without affecting IL-6, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha protein expression levels in the periphery or mRNA levels in the hippocampus. Our results suggest that the acute LPS-induced changes in burrowing and open-field activity depend on COX-1. We further show that COX-1 is not responsible for the induction of brain IL-6, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha synthesis or LPS-induced hypothermia. Our results may have implications for novel therapeutic strategies to treat or prevent neurological diseases with an inflammatory component.
2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.