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J Neurochem. 2005 Jun;93(5):1177-88.

Mapping the areas sensitive to long-term endotoxin tolerance in the rat brain: a c-fos mRNA study.

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Departament de Biologia Cel.lular, de Fisiologia i d'Immunologia, Unitat de Fisiologia Animal, Facultat de Ciències and Institut de Neurociènces, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain.


We have recently found that a single endotoxin administration to rats reduced the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to another endotoxin administration 4 weeks later, which may be an example of the well-known phenomenon of endotoxin tolerance. However, the time elapsed between the two doses of endotoxin was long enough to consider the above results as an example of late tolerance, whose mechanisms are poorly characterized. To know if the brain plays a role in this phenomenon and to characterize the putative areas involved, we compared the c-fos mRNA response after a final dose of endotoxin in animals given vehicle or endotoxin 4 weeks before. Endotoxin caused a widespread induction of c-fos mRNA in the brain, similar to that previously reported by other laboratories. Whereas most of the brain areas were not sensitive to the previous experience with endotoxin, a few showed a reduced response in endotoxin-pretreated rats: the parvocellular and magnocellular regions of the paraventricular hypothalamic nucleus, the central amygdala, the lateral division of the bed nucleus and the locus coeruleus. We hypothesize that late tolerance to endotoxin may involve plastic changes in the brain, likely to be located in the central amygdala. The reduced activation of the central amygdala in rats previously treated with endotoxin may, in turn, reduce the activation of other brain areas, including the hypothalamic paraventicular nucleus.

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