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Neurobiol Aging. 2009 Jun;30(6):920-31. Epub 2007 Oct 22.

Interleukin-4 mediates the neuroprotective effects of rosiglitazone in the aged brain.

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Trinity College Institute for Neuroscience and Physiology Department, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines, like interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), is a feature of the aged brain and it is generally accepted that the primary cell source of these cytokines is activated microglia. In hippocampus of aged rats, the increase in IL-1 beta is accompanied by microglial activation and impaired long-term potentiation (LTP). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) possess anti-inflammatory properties that target microglia. In this study the PPAR gamma agonist, rosiglitazone, was orally administered to young and aged rats, and we report that the age-related increases in NO and IL-1 beta production were attenuated in hippocampus of rosiglitazone-treated aged rats and that this was associated with a restoration of LTP. In addition, treatment with rosiglitazone increased interleukin-4 (IL-4) mRNA and reversed the age-related decrease in hippocampal IL-4 concentration. Significantly, while rosiglitazone attenuated the LPS-induced increase in MHCII and IL-1 beta concentration in glia prepared from wildtype mice, it failed to exert an effect in glia prepared from IL-4(-/-) mice, thereby suggesting that the anti-inflammatory actions of rosiglitazone are mediated by its ability to increase IL-4 expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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