Background: Chronic inflammation is implicated in numerous diseases, including major depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Since depression and T2DM often co-exist, inflammatory pathways are suggested as a possible link. Hence, the establishment of an immune-mediated animal model would shed light on mechanisms possibly linking depression and metabolic alterations.
Objective: In this study we investigated a behavioural and metabolic paradigm following chronic infusion with low doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using osmotic minipumps in male rats.
Methods: Behavioural testing consisted of evaluating activity level in the open field and depressive-like behaviour in the forced swim test. Metabolic assessment included measurement of body weight, food and water intake, and glucose and insulin levels during an oral glucose tolerance test.
Results: LPS-infused rats showed acute signs of sickness behaviour, but chronic LPS infusion did not induce behavioural or metabolic changes.
Conclusion: These results suggest that although inflammation is immediately induced as indicated by acute sickness, 4 weeks of chronic LPS administration via osmotic minipumps did not result in behavioural changes. Therefore, this paradigm may not be a suitable model for studying the underlying mechanisms that link depression and T2DM.
Keywords: central nervous system; depression; neuroendocrinology; psychoneuroimmunology.