Interleukin-6 as a mechanism for the adverse effects of social stress on acute Theiler’s virus infection
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Prior exposure to social disruption stress (SDR) exacerbates both the acute and chronic phase of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus infection (TMEV; [Johnson, R.R., Storts, R., Welsh, T.H., Jr., Welsh, C.J., Meagher, M.W., 2004. Social stress alters the severity of acute Theiler's virus infection. J. Neuroimmunol. 148, 74--85; Johnson, R.R., Prentice, T.W., Bridegam, P., Young, C.R., Steelman, A.J., Welsh, T.H., Welsh, C.J.R., Meagher, M.W., 2006. Social stress alters the severity and onset of the chronic phase of Theiler's virus infection. J. Neuroimmunol. 175, 39--51]). However, the neuroimmune mechanism(s) mediating this effect have not been determined. The present study examined whether stress-induced increases in the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) contributes to the adverse effects of SDR on acute TMEV infection. Experiment 1 demonstrated that SDR increases central and peripheral levels of IL-6 and that this effect is reversed by intracerebral ventricular infusion of neutralizing antibody to IL-6 prior to each of six SDR sessions. Although SDR reduced the sensitivity of spleen cells to the anti-inflammatory effects of corticosterone, the neutralizing antibody to IL-6 did not alter this effect. To investigate whether stress-induced increases in IL-6 contribute to the exacerbation of acute TMEV infection, Experiment 2 examined whether intracerebral administration of neutralizing antibody to IL-6 during SDR would prevent the subsequent exacerbation of acute TMEV infection. Experiment 3 then replaced the social stress with intracerebral infusion of IL-6 to assess sufficiency. As expected, prior exposure to SDR subsequently increased infection-related sickness behaviors, motor impairment, CNS viral titers, and CNS inflammation. These deleterious effects of SDR were either prevented or significantly attenuated by intracerebral infusion of neutralizing antibody to IL-6 during the stress exposure period. However, infusion of IL-6 alone did not mimic the adverse effects of SDR. We conclude that IL-6 is necessary but not sufficient to exacerbate acute TMEV infection.
author list (cited authors)
Meagher, M. W., Johnson, R. R., Young, E. E., Vichaya, E. G., Lunt, S., Hardin, E. A., Connor, M. A., & Welsh, C.