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Thermoregulation is highly sensitive to pathogens and can also be influenced by drugs of abuse, such as alcohol. This study determined the pharmacological sensitivity of fever and sickness behaviors to dexamethasone, a common anti-inflammatory drug, in male rats that underwent an acute immune challenge using the viral mimetic Poly I:C. Additionally, this study sought to determine the extent to which dexamethasone would also influence ethanol-induced hypothermia. Results indicated that dexamethasone attenuated Poly I:C-induced fever. However, these effects did not significantly differ based on the dose of dexamethasone administered. Sickness behaviors, on the other hand, showed a dose-dependent effect of dexamethasone. In contrast, dexamethasone had no significant effect on ethanol-induced hypothermia. As thermoregulation is regulated primarily by neurons in the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, these findings suggest that natural fever and ethanol-induced hypothermia are differentially sensitive to glucocorticoid treatment and likely controlled by distinct neural mechanisms.



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Sensitivity of Fever and Ethanol-Induced Hypothermia to Dexamethasone in Male Sprague-Dawley Rats