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Sepsis-associated encephalopathy (SAE) is characterized as diffuse brain dysfunction in patients with excessive systemic inflammatory reaction to an infection. In our previous studies using a mouse model of SAE with intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), tissue concentrations of various cytokines were elevated in the entire brain parenchyma 4 and 24 h following LPS administration. Cytokines elevated at 4 h were produced by the choroid plexus, leptomeninges and vascular endothelium, while those at 24 h were produced by astrocytes. Interleukin (IL)-1β did not increase in the concentration in the brain parenchyma during the period from 1 to 24 h following LPS. In the present study, we hypothesized that the intracranial cells that initially respond to systemic inflammation are situated in the choroid plexus and produce IL-1β to initiate cytokine-mediated reactions. We quantified the transcript levels of related cytokines within the choroid plexus and specified the choroid plexus cells that are involved in the immediate cytokine-mediated responses. Mice received LPS or saline by intraperitoneal injection. Four hours after treatments, the choroid plexuses were isolated and subjected to cytokine gene expression analyses using real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Another group of mice was fixed at 1, 4 and 24 h after treatments and the expression of cytokines and receptors was studied with double immunohistofluorescence staining. The transcript levels of IL-1β, CC-motif ligand (CCL)2, CXC-motif ligand (CXCL)1, CXCL2 and IL-6 in the choroid plexus were significantly increased in mice treated with LPS compared to saline control. The IL-1β expression was remarkable in choroid plexus macrophages at 1 and 4 h but not in the brain parenchyma. Choroid plexus stromal cells expressed IL-1 receptor type 1 (IL-1R1). The IL-1R1-bearing stromal cells produced CCL2, CXCL1, CXCL2 and IL-6 at 4 h. Choroid plexus epithelial cells expressed CXCR2, a common receptor for CXCL1 and CXCL2. Choroid plexus epithelial cells also expressed CCL2, CXCL1 and CXCL2 at 4 h, and IL-1R1-bearing stromal cells expressed CXCR2. Therefore, in response to systemic LPS injection, one of the intracranial reactions was initiated within the choroid plexus using IL-1β derived from macrophages. The choroid plexus stromal cells subsequently had elevated expression of CCL2, CXCL1, CXCL2 and IL-6. The choroid plexus epithelial cells also had elevated expression of CCL2, CXCL1 and CXCL2. The presence of receptors for these cytokines on both epithelial and stromal cells raised the possibility of reciprocal interactions between these cells. The results suggested that the immediate early responses exerted by the choroid plexus are relevant to understanding how SAE is initiated in clinical settings. © 2021 The Authors.


Atsuyoshi Shimada, Sanae Hasegawa-Ishii. Increased cytokine expression in the choroid plexus stroma and epithelium in response to endotoxin-induced systemic inflammation in mice. Toxicology reports. 2021;8:520-528

PMID: 33747797

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