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Brain Res Bull. 1995;36(4):381-92.

Anatomic patterns of Fos immunostaining in rat brain following systemic endotoxin administration.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco 94121.


To identify brain neurons that participate in the acute phase response, rat brains were examined immunocytochemically for Fos protein following the intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide, LPS). Two to three hours after the injection of LPS, 150 micrograms/kg body weight, to adult male Long-Evans rats, a consistent anatomic pattern of Fos immunostained cell nuclei is seen. In the brain stem, prominant Fos immunostaining is induced in tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive neurons of the caudal ventral-lateral medulla (the A1 cell group), in both tyrosine hydroxylase positive and negative neurons of nu. tractus solitarius, in the parabrachial nu., and in a few neurons of the locus ceruleus. In the hypothalamus, endotoxin induces Fos expression in magnocellular neurons of the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei and internuclear cell groups. A higher percentage of oxytocin-immunoreactive cells is double labeled for Fos nuclear immunostaining than vasopressin-immunoreactive cells. A minority of somatostatin immunoreactive periventricular hypothalamic neurons are Fos positive. Other hypothalamic nuclei that contain endotoxin-induced Fos nuclear immunostaining include the parvocellular neurons of the paraventricular nu., the dorsomedial and arcuate nuclei, the lateral hypothalamus, the dorsal hypothalamic area (zona incerta), and the median nucleus of the preoptic area. LPS induces numerous Fos-positive neurons in regions known to respond to a variety of stressful stimuli; these regions include the preoptic area, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, lateral septum, and the central and medial nuclei of the amygdala. Moreover, Fos nuclear immunostaining is seen in neurons of circumventricular organs: the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis, the subfornical organ, and the area postrema. The maximum intensity of Fos nuclear immunostaining occurs 2-3 h after endotoxin administration and declines thereafter. It is attenuated by pretreatment with indomethacin, 25 mg/kg body weight Sc, or dexamethasone, 1 mg/kg IP. These observations are consistent with the participation of a variety of brain neuronal systems in the acute phase response and elucidate the functional neuroanatomy of that response at the cellular level.

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