Effects of Cytokines on the Hypothalamic—Pituitary—Adrenal Axis of the Rat

  • Catherine Rivier
Part of the Endocrinology and Metabolism book series (EAM, volume 7)


While the concept of bilateral communication between the immune and the neuroendocrine axes has received empirical support from many clinical observations, the biochemical basis for such functional interplay has only recently been determined. It is now well documented that activated immune cells (in particular macrophages) produce proteins, called cytokines or lymphokines, which not only exert stimulatory effects on other immune cells, but can be released into the general circulation and reach neuroendocrine organs. Among the various cytokines, interleukins (IL) are presently considered as playing a major role in communicating to the brain the occurrence of immune activation. This chapter will present an overview of the neuroendocrine effects of IL on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis of the rat. The reader seeking additional information, or interested in the effects of cytokines on other neuroendocrine functions, should consult recent reviews.1—5


Corticotropin Release Factor Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase Activate Polypeptide Median Eminence ACTH Secretion ACTH Release 
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  • Catherine Rivier

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