Chemically induced neuronal damage and gliosis: enhanced expression of the proinflammatory chemokine, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, without a corresponding increase in proinflammatory cytokines(1).

PMID 12401343


Enhanced expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines has long been linked to neuronal and glial responses to brain injury. Indeed, inflammation in the brain has been associated with damage that stems from conditions as diverse as infection, multiple sclerosis, trauma, and excitotoxicity. In many of these brain injuries, disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) may allow entry of blood-borne factors that contribute to, or serve as the basis of, brain inflammatory responses. Administration of trimethyltin (TMT) to the rat results in loss of hippocampal neurons and an ensuing gliosis without BBB compromise. We used the TMT damage model to discover the proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines that are expressed in response to neuronal injury. TMT caused pyramidal cell damage within 3 days and a substantial loss of these neurons by 21 days post dosing. Marked microglial activation and astrogliosis were evident over the same time period. The BBB remained intact despite the presence of multiple indicators of TMT-induced neuropathology. TMT caused large increases in whole hippocampal-derived monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1 mRNA (1,000%) by day 3 and in MCP-1 (300%) by day 7. The mRNA levels for tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6, cytokines normally expressed during the earliest stage of inflammation, were not increased up to 21 days post dosing. Lipopolysaccharide, used as a positive control, caused large inductions of cytokine mRNA in liver, as well as an increase in IL-1beta in hippocampus, but it did not result in the induction of astrogliosis. The data suggest that enhanced expression of the proinflammatory cytokines, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6, is not required for neuronal and glial responses to injury and that MCP-1 may serve a signaling function in the damaged CNS that is distinct from its role in proinflammatory events.