The International journal of neuroscience

Lipopolysaccharide preconditioning attenuates apoptotic processes and improves neuropathologic changes after spinal cord injury in rats.

PMID 24205811


We have shown earlier that administration of low-dose lipopolysaccharide (LPS) significantly contributed to recovery of motor function after traumatic spinal cord injury in the adult female rat. Using the same standardized animal model, we have now designed a set of experiments to test the hypothesis that LPS preconditioning attenuates stress-related apoptotic processes early after spinal cord trauma. The lower thoracic spinal cord injury in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats was caused by a 10 g weight rod drop from 25 mm on the dural surface of the exposed spinal cord at T10. The rats were randomly assigned to three groups: Sham injury, control (received normal saline alone), and LPS preconditioning (0.2 mg/kg, ip; 72 h prior to the injury). The animals were euthanized at 72 h postinjury. Neuropathologic changes were assessed using hematoxylin and eosin staining. SCI-induced apoptosis were observed by transmission electron microscopy. Caspase-3, cleaved caspase-3, Bax, and Bcl-2 were examined with immunohistochemistry or Western blotting. Compared with the control group, LPS preconditioning group showed significant improvement in the SCI-induced morphology changes. Furthermore, LPS preconditioning reduced the expressions of apoptotic markers caspase-3, cleaved caspase-3, and Bax, upregulated the expression of antiapoptotic marker Bcl-2 in the samples of spinal cord. Low-dose LPS attenuated the recruitment of inflammatory cells and the proliferation of glial cells in the site of injury. LPS preconditioning has neuroprotective effects against TSCI in rats due to its antiapoptosis properties as shown by the inhibition of caspase pathway and the upregulation of antiapoptotic protein.