Ocular surface-evoked Fos-like immunoreactivity is enhanced in trigeminal subnucleus caudalis by prior exposure to endotoxin

Keiichiro Okamoto, D. F. Bereiter, A. Tashiro, David A Bereiter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Endotoxin-induced uveitis (EIU) is a common animal model for anterior uveitis in humans that causes long-term changes in trigeminal brain stem neurons. This study used c-fos immunohistochemistry to assess the effects of different routes of administration of endotoxin on activation of trigeminal brain stem neurons produced by ocular surface stimulation. A single dose of endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide (LPS)) given to male rats by systemic (i.p., 1 mg/kg) or intraocular (ivt, 20 μg) routes increased the number of Fos-positive neurons in rostral (trigeminal subnucleus interpolaris/subnucleus transition (Vi/Vc)) and caudal portions of trigeminal subnucleus caudalis (trigeminal subnucleus caudalis/upper cervical spinal cord transition (Vc/C1-2)) by 20% mustard oil (MO) applied to the ocular surface 7 days, but not at 2 days, after LPS compared with naïve rats. I.c.v. (20 μg) LPS did not affect MO-evoked Fos. To determine if the pattern of enhanced Fos expression after systemic LPS also depended on the nature of the ocular surface stimulus, additional groups received ocular stimulation by 10% histamine or dry eye conditions. Seven days, but not 2 days, after i.p. LPS both histamine- and dry eye-evoked Fos was increased at the Vi/Vc transition, while smaller effects were seen at other regions. These results suggested that EIU modulation of trigeminal brain stem neuron activity was mediated mainly by peripheral actions of LPS. Enhancement of Fos at the Vi/Vc region after MO, histamine and dry eye conditions supports the hypothesis that this region integrates innocuous as well as noxious sensory information, while more caudal portions of Vc process mainly nociceptive signals from the eye.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)787-794
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 17 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This was supported by NIH grant NS26137. The authors wish to thank J. Cioffi for excellent technical assistance.


  • Fos
  • LPS
  • mustard oil
  • ocular pain
  • trigeminal subnucleus caudalis
  • uveitis


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