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Neuroscience. 2005;133(1):159-68. Epub 2005 Apr 22.

Minocycline attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced white matter injury in the neonatal rat brain.

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Department of Pediatrics, Division of Newborn Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216-4505, USA.


Our previous studies have shown that intracerebral administration of endotoxin, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), induces selective white matter injury and hypomyelination in the neonatal rat brain and that the LPS-induced brain injury is associated with activation of microglia. To test the hypothesis that inhibition of microglial activation may protect against LPS-induced white matter injury, we examined roles of minocycline, a putative suppressor of microglial activation, on LPS-induced brain injury in the neonatal rat. A stereotactic intracerebral injection of LPS (1 mg/kg) was performed in postnatal day 5 Sprague-Dawley rats and control rats were injected with sterile saline. Minocycline (45 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally 12 h before and immediately after LPS injection and then every 24 h for 3 days. Inflammatory responses, activation of microglia and brain injury were examined 1 and 3 days after LPS injection. LPS injection resulted in brain injury in selective brain areas, including bilateral ventricular enlargement, cell death at the sub- and periventricular areas, loss of O4+ and O1+ oligodendrocyte (OL) immunoreactivity and hypomyelination, as indicated by decreased myelin basic protein immunostaining, in the neonatal rat brain. Minocycline administration significantly attenuated LPS-induced brain injury in these rat brains. The protective effect of minocycline was associated with suppressed microglial activation as indicated by the decreased number of activated microglial cells following LPS stimulation and with consequently decreased elevation of interleukin 1beta and tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentrations induced by LPS and a reduced number of inducible nitric oxide synthase expressing cells. Protection of minocycline was also linked with the reduction in LPS-induced oxidative stress, as indicated by 4-hydroxynonenal positive OLs. The overall results suggest that reduction in microglial activation may protect the neonatal brain from LPS-induced white matter injury and inhibition of microglial activation might be an effective approach for the therapeutic treatment of infection-induced white matter injury.

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