Author(s): Pawlak CR, Schwarting RK, Bauhofer A
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Abstract There is evidence that interleukin (IL)-2 may be related to anxiety as measured in the elevated plus-maze. Recently, we showed that normal adult male Wistar rats can differ systematically in this test of avoidance behavior, that is, time spent on the open arms of the elevated plus-maze. Rats with low open arm time had higher striatal levels of IL-2 mRNA than those with high open arm time, but did not differ significantly in expression of other striatal cytokine mRNA. Here, we investigated whether these expression effects are anatomically specific to the striatum. Therefore, we asked in this double-blind study whether elevated plus-maze behavior may also be related to endogenous levels of cytokine mRNA in other brain regions, which play a role for anxiety, namely the amygdala, hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex. Additionally, and as peripheral controls, immuno-neuro-endocrine relevant tissues (adrenal glands, spleen) were analyzed. Based on open arm time in the elevated plus-maze, male Wistar rats were divided into sub-groups with either low or high open arm time behavior. Then, IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha cDNA levels were measured post-mortem using semi-quantitative, competitive, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. First, we found that cytokine expressions differed considerably between and within these central and peripheral tissues. Secondly, rats with high compared to low open arm time behavior showed higher IL-2 mRNA levels in the prefrontal cortex, which is an inverse pattern to what we recently found in the striatum. These results provide new evidence indicating that cytokine mRNA in the brain can be related to elevated plus-maze behavior and that this relationship is site (prefrontal cortex, striatum)- and cytokine mRNA-specific (IL-2).
This article was published in Brain Res Mol Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Alzheimers Disease & Parkinsonism