Immune-induced fever is dependent on local but not generalized prostaglandin E2 synthesis in the brain

Anna Eskilsson, Takashi Matsuwaki, Kiseko Shionoya, Elahe Mirrasekhian, Joanna Zajdel, Markus Schwaninger, David Engblom, Anders Blomqvist*

*Corresponding author for this work
8 Citations (Scopus)


Fever occurs upon binding of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to EP3 receptors in the median preoptic nucleus of the hypothalamus, but the origin of the pyrogenic PGE2 has not been clearly determined. Here, using mice of both sexes, we examined the role of local versus generalized PGE2 production in the brain for the febrile response. In wild-type mice and in mice with genetic deletion of the prostaglandin synthesizing enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 in the brain endothelium, generated with an inducible CreERT2 under the Slco1c1 promoter, PGE2 levels in the CSF were only weakly related to the magnitude of the febrile response, whereas the PGE2 synthesizing capacity in the hypothalamus, as reflected in the levels of cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA, showed strong correlation with the immune-induced fever. Histological analysis showed that the deletion of cyclooxygenase-2 in brain endothelial cells occurred preferentially in small- and mediumsized vessels deep in the brain parenchyma, such as in the hypothalamus, whereas larger vessels, and particularly those close to the neocortical surface and in the meninges, were left unaffected, hence leaving PGE2 synthesis largely intact in major parts of the brain while significantly reducing it in the region critical for the febrile response. Furthermore, injection of a virus vector expressing microsomal prostaglandin E synthase-1 (mPGES-1) into the median preoptic nucleus of fever-refractive mPGES-1 knock-out mice, resulted in a temperature elevation in response to LPS. We conclude that the febrile response is dependent on local release of PGE2 onto its target neurons and not on the overall PGE2 production in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number19
Pages (from-to)5035-5044
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 10.05.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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