Interferon-gamma plus lipopolysaccharide induction of delayed neuronal apoptosis in rat hippocampus.Neurochem Int 1999; 34(2):91-9NI
Interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide (IFN-gamma/LPS) induce expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) protein both in cells in vitro and in the brain in vivo. In cultured cells, excessive production of nitric oxide (NO) induces neuronal cell death. However, it is still unclear whether IFN-gamma and LPS might induce neuronal cell death in vivo. In this study, we examined the neuronal cell death and induction of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigens after microinjection of IFN-gamma/LPS into the rat hippocampus. Although microglia appeared morphologically ramified in the normal and vehicle-injected hippocampus, microinjection of IFN-gamma/LPS immediately induced the ameboid type. From days 1-7, iNOS was expressed in ameboid microglia surrounding the site of the microinjection. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL)-positive cells appeared among the granular neurons of the dentate gyrus on day 3 and peaked about 7 days after microinjection. When the NOS inhibitor N(G)-nitro-L-arginine (L-NA) was intraperitoneally administered prior to the microinjection, the number of TUNEL-positive neurons decreased in a L-NA dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that IFN-gamma/LPS induces delayed neuronal apoptosis in the hippocampus in vivo, and it possibly involves excessive NO production by iNOS. Thus, this animal model may be one of neurodegenerative with extensive inflammatory activation in the hippocampus.