Cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 differentially modulate lipopolysaccharide-induced blood-brain barrier disruption through matrix metalloproteinase activity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cyclooxygenases (COX) -1 and -2 are key regulators of innate immune responses. We recently demonstrated that the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines is reduced in COX-1 null ((-/-)), and increased in COX-2(-/-) mice compared with their respective wild type controls during lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced innate immune activation. As chemokines are involved in leukocyte recruitment into the inflamed brain, we hypothesized that COX-1 and COX-2 deletion will differentially modulate blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability in response to LPS. In the present study, using quantitative magnetic resonance imaging, we found that LPS-induced BBB disruption was exacerbated in COX-2(-/-) versus COX-2(+/+) mice. In the hippocampus and cortex of LPS-treated mice, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3 activity was significantly decreased in COX-1(-/-) mice, whereas in COX-2(-/-) mice the activity of both MMP-9 and MMP-3, known to mediate BBB breakdown, was increased. Brain mRNA expression of the leukocyte attracting chemokine Cxcl10, the intercellular interaction molecule Icam-1, the pan-leukocyte marker Cd45 was increased in COX-2(-/-) versus COX-2(+/+) mice, whereas Cxcl10 and Cd45 mRNA expression was decreased in COX-1(-/-) versus COX-1(+/+) mice after LPS. Altogether, these results indicate that COX-2 activity modulates MMP-9 and-3 activities and is necessary to maintain BBB integrity during toll-like receptor 4-dependent innate immune activation.

publication date

  • January 1, 2010