Preliminary studies of cytokine-induced functional effects on the visual pathways in the rabbit

Celia F. Brosnan, Mona S. Litwak, Charles E. Schroeder, Krzysztof Selmaj, Cedric S. Raine, Joseph C. Arezzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Epidural visual evoked potentials (VEP) were used to study the role of cytokines in the induction of pathophysiologic changes associated with inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) of the rabbit. In normal rabbits, intraocular injection of human recombinant interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) increased the peak latency of the cortical VEP by more than 2 ms within 3 h of injection; equal volume injections of control subtances had no effect. Alterations in conduction induced by IFN-γ and TNF reversed within 24 h and could be reinduced by reinjection. Intraocular injection of recombinant human interleukin-1β (IL-1) induced a more progressive delay in conduction that peaked 24 h after intraocular challenge and reversed over the ensuing 48 h. Pathologic examination of the tissues indicated that the primary effect of these cytokines is on the vasculature and induces changes associated with inflammation. The results suggest that the acute reversible effects of cytokines on CNS function are associated with vascular events; further they support the sensitivity of the 'rabbit eye model' for studies on the pathophysiologic effect of inflammatory mediators on the CNS in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-239
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 1989


  • (Rabbit)
  • Cytokine
  • Pathophysiology
  • Retina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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