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Life Sci. 1995;56(10):775-84.

Systemic cytokine administration can affect blood-brain barrier permeability in the rat.

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Dep. Farmaco-Biologico, Sch. Pharmacy, University of Messina, Italy.


The aim of the present study was to clarify the effect of intracarotid injection of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin-2 (IL-2), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) on the permeability of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in the rat. A regional blood-to-brain transfer constant (Ki) for [14C] alpha-aminoisobutyric acid ([14C]AIB) and the cerebral residual blood volume were calculated 10 min following administration of cytokines (CKs; 1000 U/rat). The injection of IL-2 and IL-6 (but not of IL-1 beta) induced a significant enhancement of Ki values for [14C]AIB within several brain areas; conversely, when the rats were given TNF-alpha, a striking decrease in BBB permeability was observed. The cerebral regional blood volumes appeared significantly lower in the rats injected with IL-6 than in the control animals, but markedly increased following TNF-alpha administration. Our findings confirm the ability of some CKs to affect the permeability of the BBB and/or to act, probably indirectly, as vasomodulator agents of the cerebral microvessel endothelium.

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