Publication Date

2011-12-05

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2011-12-05

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2011-11-04

First Committee Member

Philip McCabe

Second Committee Member

Armando Mendez

Third Committee Member

Neil Schneiderman

Abstract

Purpose: The present study investigates the potential anti-inflammatory effects of in vivo oxytocin (OT) infusion on adipose tissue inflammation in the Watanabe Heritable Hyperlipidimic Rabbits (WHHL). Methods: Twenty-eight 3-month-old WHHL were surgically implanted with osmotic minipumps containing OT (n = 14, infusion rate 250 ng/kg/hr) or vehicle (n = 14). Blood samples were taken at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint for lipids and C-reactive protein (CRP). After 16 weeks, animals were sacrificed and samples of adipose tissue (epididiymal, retroperitoneal, mesenteric, pericardial, and subcutanous) were collected and analyzed for pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-6, TNF-α, and MCP-1) and anti- inflammatory adipokine (adiponectin and IL-10) expression levels by Real Time- Polymerase Chain Reaction. Adipose tissue was also immunohistologically analyzed for macrophage infiltration. Aortas were dissected, formalin-fixed, and stained with oil-red O for en face quantification of lesion area. Student’s t-tests were used to compare group means for all measures. Results: Endpoint OT levels were significantly different (p < .05) between the control ( M = 11.28 pg/ml, SEM = 2.5) and treatment group (M = 132.35 pg/ml, SEM = 8.5). Plasma lipids were not altered by OT infusion. OT-treatment significantly decreased plasma CRP, a marker of systemic inflammation, at midpoint and endpoint compared to controls (p = 0.05). OT-treated animals displayed significantly less atherosclerosis in the thoracic aorta (p < 0.05); a finding similar to our previously published study in a mouse model of atherosclerosis. In some fat depots, there was a trend suggesting adiponectin gene expression increased in the OT-treatment group. There were no significant differences or trends regarding macrophage infiltration in adipose tissue. Conclusions: Oxytocin infusion attenuated thoracic aortic atherosclerosis, plasma CRP, and may affect inflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue in the WHHL model.

Keywords

oxytocin; adipose tissue; inflammation; atherosclerosis

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