Lipocalin-2 protects the brain during inflammatory conditions

S. S. Kang, Y. Ren, C. C. Liu, A. Kurti, K. E. Baker, G. Bu, Y. Asmann, J. D. Fryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Sepsis is a prevalent health issue that can lead to central nervous system (CNS) inflammation with long-term behavioral and cognitive alterations. Using unbiased proteomic profiling of over 100 different cytokines, we found that Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) was the most substantially elevated protein in the CNS after peripheral administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). To determine whether the high level of LCN2 in the CNS is protective or deleterious, we challenged Lcn2 -/- mice with peripheral LPS and determined effects on behavior and neuroinflammation. At a time corresponding to peak LCN2 induction in wild-type (WT) mice injected with LPS, Lcn2 -/- mice challenged with LPS had exacerbated levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and exhibited significantly worsened behavioral phenotypes. To determine the extent of global inflammatory changes dependent upon LCN2, we performed an RNAseq transcriptomic analysis. Compared with WT mice injected with LPS, Lcn2 -/- mice injected with LPS had unique transcriptional profiles and significantly elevated levels of multiple pro-inflammatory molecules. Several LCN2-dependent pathways were revealed with this analysis including, cytokine and chemokine signaling, nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor signaling and Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription signaling. These findings demonstrate that LCN2 serves as a potent protective factor in the CNS in response to systemic inflammation and may be a potential candidate for limiting sepsis-related CNS sequelae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology


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