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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Jan 24;102(2):172-81.

Induction of inflammatory cytokines in the brain following respiratory infection with Bordetella pertussis.

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Department of Biology, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co., Kildare.


Parenteral injection of endotoxin has been used as a model to examine the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the centrally controlled responses to Gram-negative bacterial infection. However, the events that occur following mucosal exposure to live bacteria have received little attention. In this study, we have used a murine model to demonstrate that respiratory infection with Bordetella pertussis, which is associated with a number of systemic complications including fever, seizure and encephalopathy in children, resulted in persistent expression of mRNA transcripts for IL-1beta and TNFalpha and transient expression of IL-6 in the hippocampus and hypothalamus. These changes correlated with elevated levels of cytokine protein in the same brain areas. The results demonstrate that infection at a mucosal surface can result in the induction of pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the brain and suggest that these locally synthesized mediators may contribute to the centrally controlled clinical manifestations of B. pertussis infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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