IL-1β-mediated changes in cerebral perfusion and neural activity in a rat model of neuroinflammation and excitotoxicity

  • Natasha Bray

Student thesis: Phd


Neuroinflammation is a major driver of secondary brain cell death after ischaemic stroke, seizure activity and traumatic brain injury. In a model of excitotoxic neuroinflammation, striatal injection of a toxic dose of AMPA causes cell death in the striatum after 24 hours. Co-injection of AMPA with the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β) leads to additional cortical cell death. Injected alone, IL-1β leads to little or no cell death. It is hypothesised that IL-1β may exacerbate cell death by interfering with blood flow coupling. In the first study, two-dimensional optical imaging spectroscopy was used to measure early changes in the haemodynamic response in the anaesthetised rat barrel cortex before and for 6 hours after injection of vehicle, AMPA, IL-1β, or AMPA+IL-1β. After injection of IL-1β, with or without AMPA, the oxygenated blood flow response to mechanical whisker stimulation approximately halved over the course of 6h. In the second study, to determine whether the IL-1β-dependent changes in blood flow response are reflected by altered cellular activity, local field potentials, multi-unit activity and local tissue oxygenation responses to whisker stimulation were recorded simultaneously from the active barrel before and up to 6h after injection. A similar reduction in the size of the oxygenation response was seen again in the IL-1β- and AMPA+IL-1β-treated groups. Importantly, the level of gamma frequency oscillations at stimulus onset decreased within the first hours after injection of AMPA+IL-1β or IL-1β, suggesting a disruption of the fast-spiking interneuron network in the barrel cortex. These findings, along with histological observations of IL-1β-dependent markers of neuroinflammation, suggest that IL-1β may exacerbate AMPA-induced excitotoxicity by potentiating seizure activity and decoupling the neurovascular response in the cortex.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorIngo Schiessl (Supervisor), Mark Dickinson (Supervisor) & Stuart Allan (Supervisor)


  • haemodynamic response
  • neuroinflammation
  • excitotoxicity
  • interleukin-1
  • optical imaging spectroscopy

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