Interleukin-1beta activates forebrain glial cells and increases nitric oxide production and cortical glutamate and GABA release in vivo: implications for Alzheimer’s disease.

Interleukin-1beta (10 U) was injected into the nucleus basalis of adult male Wistar rats. The inflammation-induced changes in glial cell morphology and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the injected area, the release of acetylcholine, GABA and glutamate from the ipsilateral cortex, the production of nitrite levels in the injected area and ipsilateral cortex, and changes in motor activity were investigated. Saline-injected rats were used as control.

Interleukin-1beta induced an activation of both microglia and astrocytes which was already evident 24 h after injection. Seven days after injection, many reactive microglial cells and astrocytes were seen in the injected area and in other brain regions of the same hemisphere. Microglia reaction, but not astrocyte activation, disappeared 30 days post-injection.

Seven days after interleukin-1beta injection, many cells immunopositive for inducible nitric oxide synthase were found surrounding the injection site. Inducible nitric oxide synthase-positive cells were identified, by double staining immunohistochemistry, in the reactive microglial cells and, by electron microscope examination, in the perineuronal subpopulation of resident activated microglia.

Microdialysis investigations revealed a transient increase in reactive nitrogen intermediates (at seven days post-injection), a delayed (at 30 days post-injection) increase in GABA and glutamate release, and no changes in acetylcholine release in the ipsilateral cortex in interleukin-1beta, but not saline, injected rats. Inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester administration prevented the increase in nitrogen intermediates and GABA release, but not in glutamate release.

Our findings suggest that an inflammatory reaction of the basal forebrain facilitates GABA release through the production of nitric oxide.

Source: Neuroscience 1999;91(3):831-42

PMID: 10391466, UI: 99318350

(Department of Pharmacology, University of Florence, Italy. )

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