Interleukin (IL)-18 is a cytokine previously demonstrated to participate in neuroinflammatory processes. Since the components of the IL-18 receptor complex are expressed in neurons throughout the brain, IL-18 is also believed to directly influence neuronal function. Here we tested this hypothesis on mouse hippocampal neurons by measuring the effects of IL-18 on three pathways previously shown to be regulated by this cytokine in non-neuronal cells: the MAPK pathways, p38 and ERK1/2 MAPKs, STAT3 and NF-κB. Experiments were carried out in vitro using the immortalized hippocampal neuronal line HT-22 or in vivo following i.c.v. injection with recombinant mouse IL-18. We showed that IL-18 did not activate NF-κB in HT-22 cells whereas it induced a rapid (within 15min) activation of the MAPK pathways. Moreover, we demonstrated that IL-18 treatment enhanced P-STAT3 (Tyr705)/STAT3 ratio in the nucleus of HT-22 cells after 30-60min of exposure. A similar increase in P-STAT3 (Tyr705)/STAT3 ratio was observed in the whole hippocampus one hour after i.c.v. injection. These data demonstrate that IL-18 can act directly on neuronal cells affecting the STAT3 pathway; therefore, possibly regulating the expression of specific genes within the hippocampus. This effect may help to explain some of the IL-18-induced effects on synaptic plasticity and functionality within the hippocampal system.
Interleukin 18 activates MAPKs and STAT3 but not NF-κB in hippocampal HT-22 cells / Alboni, Silvia; Montanari, C; Benatti, Cristina; Sanchez Alavez, M; Rigillo, Giovanna; Blom, Johanna Maria Catharina; Brunello, Nicoletta; Conti, B; Pariante, Mc; Tascedda, Fabio. - In: BRAIN BEHAVIOR AND IMMUNITY. - ISSN 0889-1591. - STAMPA. - 40:(2014), pp. 85-94. [10.1016/j.bbi.2014.02.015]