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Tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6 and major histocompatibility complex molecules in the normal brain and after peripheral immune challenge

Tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6 and major histocompatibility complex molecules in the normal brain and after peripheral immune challenge

Neurological Research 27(7): 679-684

The capacity of the brain to activate an inflammatory reaction involving the production of cytokines in response to an immune challenge in the periphery has been well established. Interleukin-1 beta is a cytokine that responds with the most widespread pattern of expression followed by tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-6. In addition, our laboratory has shown that class I major histocompatibility complex molecules are upregulated in the brain in response to peripheral administration of bacterial products. Remarkably, during recent years, all these immune genes have been shown to participate in activity-dependent structural synaptic changes in specific neurochemical circuitries in the normal brain. These processes range from the refinement of synaptic connections in sensory systems to learning and memory storage functions of the hippocampus. Therefore, the mechanisms of defense against pathogens can dramatically affect brain structure and function-inducing changes in cognition, mood and behavior. The immune reactions initiated by viruses, bacteria and parasites may result in latent vulnerabilities which could become manifest with future stressors or challenges. Other inflammatory challenges may function as triggers for uncovering pre-existing vulnerabilities or exacerbation of previous functional deficits, or clinical symptoms of neurological or psychiatric conditions. This review will discuss the importance of infections on basic neuronal processes owing to the alteration in the brain of the balance of cytokines involved in higher brain functions.

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Accession: 012713740

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PMID: 16197804

DOI: 10.1179/016164105x49463

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