Jan 1, 1988

Systemic interleukin-1 administration stimulates hypothalamic norepinephrine metabolism parallelling the increased plasma corticosterone

Life Sciences
A J Dunn


Intraperitoneal injection of purified recombinant interleukin-1 (IL-1) into mice increased the cerebral concentration of the norepinephrine (NE) catabolite, 3-methoxy,4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol (MHPG), probably reflecting increased activity of noradrenergic neurons. This effect was dose-dependent and was largest in the hypothalamus, especially the medial division. Tryptophan concentrations were also increased throughout the brain. The increase of MHPG peaked around 4 hours after IL-1 administration, parallelling the increase of plasma corticosterone. Both the alpha- and beta-forms of IL-1 were effective, but the activity was lost after heat treatment of the IL-1. Noradrenergic neurons with terminals in the hypothalamus are known to regulate the secretion of corticotropin-releasing factor, thus our results suggest that IL-1 activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis by activating these neurons. Because initiation of an immune response is known to cause systemic release of IL-1, IL-1 may be an immunotransmitter communicating the immunologic activation to the brain. The IL-1-induced changes in hypothalamic MHPG may explain the increases of electrophysiological activity, the changes of hypothalamic NE metabolism, and the ...Continue Reading

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Immune Response
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