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Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Nov;97(1):112-20. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2010.04.015. Epub 2010 Apr 27.

Involvement of nitric oxide in lipopolysaccharide induced anorexia.

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Institute of Veterinary Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Treatment with the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a commonly used model to induce disease-related anorexia. Following LPS treatment inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is expressed in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC), where nitric oxide (NO) inhibits orexigenic neurons. Intracellular STAT signaling is triggered by inflammatory stimuli and has been linked to the transcriptional regulation of iNOS. We evaluated whether pharmacological blockade of iNOS by the specific inhibitor 1400W attenuates LPS-induced anorexia. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the tolerance to the anorectic effect occurring after repeated LPS treatment is paralleled by a blunted STAT3 phosphorylation in the ARC. Rats treated with a subcutaneous injection of 1400W (10 mg/kg) showed an attenuated anorectic LPS response relative to control rats receiving only LPS (100 µg/kg; i.p.). Similarly, iNOS blockade attenuated LPS-induced adipsia, hyperthermia, inactivity and the concomitant drop in energy expenditure. While single LPS treatment increased STAT3 phosphorylation in the ARC, rats treated repeatedly with LPS showed no anorectic response and also no STAT3 phosphorylation in the ARC after the second and third LPS injections, respectively. Hence, pSTAT3 signaling in the ARC might be part of the intracellular cascades translating pro-inflammatory stimuli into suppression of food intake. The current findings substantiate a role of iNOS dependent NO formation in disease-related anorexia.

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