Chronic inflammation is implicated in numerous diseases, including major depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Since depression and T2DM often co-exist, inflammatory pathways are suggested as a possible link. Hence, the establishment of an immune-mediated animal model would shed light on mechanisms possibly linking depression and metabolic alterations.
In this study we investigated a behavioural and metabolic paradigm following chronic infusion with low doses of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) using osmotic minipumps in male rats.
Behavioural testing consisted of evaluating activity level in the open field and depressive-like behaviour in the forced swim test. Metabolic assessment included measurement of body weight, food and water intake, and glucose and insulin levels during an oral glucose tolerance test.
LPS-infused rats showed acute signs of sickness behaviour, but chronic LPS infusion did not induce behavioural or metabolic changes.
These results suggest that although inflammation is immediately induced as indicated by acute sickness, 4 weeks of chronic LPS administration via osmotic minipumps did not result in behavioural changes. Therefore, this paradigm may not be a suitable model for studying the underlying mechanisms that link depression and T2DM.