The Neurobiology of Endogenous Pyrogens

  • C. M. Blatteis
Conference paper


That a link exists between the central nervous (CNS) and immune systems is no longer disputed. Thus, CNS lesions and sundry hormonal and autonomic manipulations have demonstrated that, besides the many mediators that provide regulatory signals within the immune system, the nervous system plays an important modulatory role. Connections from the autonomic nervous system to lymphoid tissue have been described, and neuroendocrine influences on immunity are well documented. As the hypothalamus is central to the control of both autonomie and neuroendocrine outflows, it is also the target of signals generated by the immune system. For example, changes in the electrical activity of neurons in discrete hypothalamic areas have been recorded during immunogenesis. Also, the peripheral and/or central administration of several factors produced by the immune system elicits responses pathognomonic of infectious disease, e.g., fever, increased plasma levels of acute-phase reactants, and enhanced slow-wave sleep. Hence, these immune products are presumptive mediators of signal transmission from the immune to the nervous system, possibly functioning as the afferent part of a neuroimmunomodulatory feedback system. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that interleukin-1 (IL1), one such product of immunocompetent cells, may mediate the secretion of pituitary adrenocorticotrophic hormone. Subsequently released adrenal glucocorticoids may then act to suppress the further production of IL1. These aspects of neural-immune interaction have been reviewed recently (Weigent and Blalock 1987; Saphier et al. 1987; Besedovsky and Del Rey 1987; Felten et al. 1987; Roszman et al. 1985; Cotman et al. 1987).


Interferon Prostaglandin Norepinephrine Glucocorticoid Meningitis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. M. Blatteis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology, and BiophysicsMemphisUSA

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