Inflammatory processes may cause depression in subsets of vulnerable individuals. Inflammation-associated behavioral changes are commonly modelled in rodents by administration of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). However, the time frame in which immune activation and depressive-like behavior occur is not very clear. In this study, we showed that systemic administration of LPS robustly increased circulating levels of corticosterone, leptin, pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and chemokines. Serum concentrations of most analytes peaked within the first 6 h after LPS injection and returned to baseline values by 24 h. Chemokine levels, however, remained elevated for up to 96 h. Using an optimized sucrose preference test (SPT) we showed that sickness behavior was present from 2 to 24 h. LPS-induced anhedonia, as measured by decreased sucrose preference, lasted up to 96 h. To mimic the human situation, where depression develops after chronic inflammation, rats were preexposed to repeated LPS administration or subchronic restraint stress and subsequently challenged with LPS. While these procedures did not increase the duration of anhedonia, our results do indicate that inflammation may cause depressive symptoms such as anhedonia. Using our SPT protocol, more elaborate rodent models can be developed to study the mechanisms underlying inflammation-associated depression in humans.
Biesmans, S., Matthews, L. J. R., Bouwknecht, J. A., De Haes, P., Hellings, N., Meert, T. F., … Ver Donck, L. (2016). Systematic Analysis of the Cytokine and Anhedonia Response to Peripheral Lipopolysaccharide Administration in Rats. BioMed Research International, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/9085273