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Brain Behav Immun. 1995 Dec;9(4):355-65.

Interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha synergistically mediate neurotoxicity: involvement of nitric oxide and of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors.

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  • 1Neuroimmunobiology and Host Defense Laboratory, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Minnesota 55404, USA.

Abstract

The cytokines interleukin (IL)-1 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, produced by glial cells within the brain, appear to contribute to the neuropathogenesis of several inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases; however, little is known about the mechanism underlying cytokine-induced neurotoxicity. Using human fetal brain cell cultures composed of neurons and glial cells, we investigated the injurious effects of IL-1beta and TNF-alpha, cytokines which are known to induce nitric oxide (NO) production by astrocytes. Although neither cytokine alone was toxic, IL-1beta and TNF-alpha in combination caused marked neuronal injury. Brain cell cultures treated with IL-1beta plus TNF-alpha generated substantial amounts of NO. Blockade of NO production with a NO synthase inhibitor was accompanied by a marked reduction (about 45%) of neuronal injury, suggesting that NO production by astrocytes plays a role in cytokine-induced neurotoxicity. Addition of N-methly-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists to brain cell cultures also blocked IL-1beta plus TNF-alpha-induced neurotoxicity (by 55%), implicating the involvement of NMDA receptors in cytokine-induced neurotoxicity. Treatment of brain cell cultures with IL-1beta plus TNF-alpha was found to inhibit [3H]-glutamate uptake and astrocyte glutamine synthetase activity, two major pathways involved in NMDA receptor-related neurotoxicity. These in vitro findings suggest that agents which suppress NO production or inhibit NMDA receptors may protect against neuronal damage in cytokine-induced neurodegenerative diseases.

PMID:
8903852
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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