The American journal of physiology

Hypothermia to endotoxin involves the cytokine tumor necrosis factor and the neuropeptide vasopressin in rats.

PMID 8304560


Previously, we have reported that intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) in rats kept at a subthermoneutral ambient temperature of 24 degrees C results in a fall in colonic temperature that involved the release of antipyretic products by peripheral macrophages. Here, we demonstrate that treatment of rats with a biologically active antiserum to tumor necrosis factor (TNF) markedly attenuates the hypothermia in response to administration of LPS (0.5 mg/kg). Moreover, this hypothermia was prevented by central injection of a selective antagonist of V1 vasopressin receptors, dPTyr(Me) arginine vasopressin (AVP; 2 micrograms icv). AVP is thought to act as an antipyretic in the ventral septal area (VSA) of the brain. Because the AVP content of this area has been shown to be eliminated after long-term castration, we have tested the hypothesis that castration would attenuate the hypothermia in response to administration of LPS. Castrated rats displayed a markedly less hypothermic response than age-matched controls in response to administration of LPS. We conclude that hypothermia in response to intravenous injection of LPS involves the release of TNF from peripheral macrophages. Moreover, our results are consistent with the possibility that androgen-dependent vasopressinergic neurons in the VSA are mediating the hypothermia in response to intravenous administration of LPS.

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[deamino-Pen1, O-Me-Tyr2, Arg8]-Vasopressin, ≥97% (HPLC)