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Eur J Neurosci. 2001 Feb;13(3):493-502.

LPS/IFN-gamma cytotoxicity in oligodendroglial cells: role of nitric oxide and protection by the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.

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Neural Plasticity Unit, Instituto Cajal, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Avenida Doctor Arce 37, 28002 Madrid, Spain.


Proinflammatory mediators have been implicated in demyelinating disorders, including multiple sclerosis, whereas it has been proposed that the anti-inflammatory cytokines interleukin- (IL-) 4 and IL-10 participate in disease recovery. The present study analysed the effect of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) on proliferation and survival of progenitors and differentiated oligodendrocytes. We also investigated the presence of receptors for IL-4 and IL-10 in oligodendroglial cells and explored a possible protective action of IL-4 and IL-10 in cultures following LPS/IFN-gamma. Finally, the role of endogenous nitric oxide (NO) on cell viability and the modulatory action of IL-4 and IL-10 on inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression were also analysed. We report that LPS and/or IFN-gamma reduced proliferation and viability of oligodendroglial cells. Cell death, presumably by apoptosis as evidence by TUNEL and Annexin V binding, was observed following LPS/IFN-gamma, progenitors being more sensitive than differentiated cells. At both developmental stages, LPS/IFN-gamma-treated cultures expressed iNOS protein and released micromolar concentrations of NO. In progenitors, LPS/IFN-gamma-mediated cell damage was partially dependent on endogenous NO production, whereas NO was fundamental for cytotoxicity of differentiated oligodendrocytes. Both cell types expressed mRNA for IL-4 and IL-10 receptors and expression of IL-10 receptors at the protein level was also demonstrated. Treatment with either cytokine inhibited the expression of iNOS resulting from the proinflammatory stimulation. IL-10 was more effective than IL-4 in suppressing iNOS expression and, interestingly, IL-10 conferred protection against oligodendroglial death evoked by LPS/IFN-gamma. Our data raise the question of whether IL-10 may play a protective role in demyelinating diseases, not only downregulating the function of inflammatory cells but also promoting survival of progenitors and differentiated oligodendrocytes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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