The hypothalamo-pituitary axis responses to lipopolysaccharide-induced endotoxemia in mice lacking inducible nitric oxide synthase

Soichiro Akasaka, Masayoshi Nomura, Hisae Nishii, Naohiro Fujimoto, Yoichi Ueta, Masato Tsutsui, Hiroaki Shimokawa, Nobuyuki Yanagihara, Tetsuro Matsumoto

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Nitric oxide (NO) generated by inducible NO synthase (iNOS) may be implicated in the biological responses of the central nervous system to immune stimuli. To elucidate the role of iNOS in the hypothalamo-pituitary axis in responses to endotoxemia, using iNOS knockout (KO) mice, we examined the levels of c-fos, a neural activational marker, and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) gene transcription in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and central amygdala (CeAMY) during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endotoxemia. In addition, the serum adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels were also examined during endotoxemia. Following the intraperitoneal administration of LPS (1 mg/kg), the levels of the c-fos gene expression significantly increased in the PVN and the CeAMY regardless of the genotype. However, the disruption of the iNOS gene resulted in a significant decrease in the c-fos gene induction in the PVN in comparison to that observed in control mice. LPS administration caused a significant increase in CRH mRNA levels in the PVN and CeAMY regardless of genotype. However, the LPS-induced upregulation of CRH mRNA was significantly attenuated in the PVN of iNOS KO mice in comparison to that in the control mice. In contrast, no such genotype differences in the neural activity or CRH gene transcription were observed in the CeAMY. The serum ACTH responses to LPS were also significantly blunted in the iNOS KO mice in comparison to the control mice. These results suggest that iNOS-derived NO may therefore play a stimulatory role in the activity of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis during endotoxemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006 May 17


  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone
  • In situ hybridization histochemistry
  • Inducible nitric oxide synthase
  • Knockout mice
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Nitric oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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