Journal article

Chemical destruction of brain noradrenergic neurons affects splenic cytokine production

The neurotransmitter noradrenaline (NA) plays a pivotal role in immune regulation. Here we used the selective neurotoxin N-(2-chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP-4) to investigate the impact of central NA depletion on cytokine production by splenic monocytes/macrophages and T cells. Intraperitoneal administration of DSP-4 in adult rats induced a substantial reduction of noradrenergic neurons in the locus coeruleus and the A5 cell group. The degeneration of brainstem noradrenergic neurons was accompanied by a significant decrease in the production of interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by lipopolysaccharide-stimulated splenocytes. In addition, upon T cell receptor stimulation with anti-CD3, isolated splenocytes of DSP-4 treated animals produced significantly less interferon (IFN)-gamma but not IL-2 and IL-4. The proportion of monocytes/macrophages and T cells in the spleen remained unaffected by the neurotoxin treatment, however, the percentage of natural killer cells decreased significantly. The findings suggest that a certain level of central noradrenergic tone is required for normal functioning of peripheral immune cells.


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