Fever is a coordinated autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral response mediated by the brain in reaction to inflammatory stimuli. An essential step in transmitting the immune signal to the brain is the formation of prostaglandin E2. Cyclooxygenase (COX) is the critical enzyme in the synthesis of prostaglandins and COX-2, the inducible form of the enzyme, is markedly induced in cells associated with the cerebral blood vessels and the leptomeninges by immune stimuli such as intravenous administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). However, the specific roles of COX-1, the constitutive form of cyclooxygenase, and COX-2 in LPS-induced fever are not well understood. We injected LPS i.v. in combination with either a highly selective COX-1 (SC-560) or COX-2 (SC-236) inhibitor to determine the effects of each drug on the subsequent fever response and on the pattern of expression of Fos protein in the brain. The COX-2 inhibitor blocked LPS-induced fever and Fos expression in sites such as the ventromedial preoptic nucleus (VMPO) and the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVH), although Fos-immunoreactivity in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), ventrolateral medulla (VLM), and parabrachial nucleus (PB) remained. In contrast, the COX-1 inhibitor resulted in a profound hypothermic response to LPS and blocked LPS-induced Fos-immunoreactivity in the PVH, PB, NTS, and VLM, although it had no effect on the VMPO. Although COX-2 plays a dominant role in mediating fever responses to i.v. LPS, at least some components of the response, including avoiding hypothermia and the induction of Fos in the NTS, VLM, PB, and PVH, appear to depend on COX-1.
- Fos-like immunoreactivity
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