Cytokines in the brain: From localization and function to clinical implications

Julio Licinio, Ma Li Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A highly complex network of central and peripheral cytokines regulates important functions of the body that the essential to the responses to infection, inflammation and stress. This article has a focus on a new developments on the neurobiology of interleukin-1 (IL-1). IL-1 is a primary cytokine that affects key functions of the brain such as neuroendocrine regulation, temperature control, sleep, food intake and body weight. It is now clear that events that occur within the brain, particularly those that have an inflammatory component are associated with central IL-1 induction. Such events included kindled seizures, trauma, stroke, CNS infection or inflammation. It is still not clear whether events that do not exert a direct injury to the CNS such as psychological stress can activate the brain IL-1 system. Future directions for research in this field include the question of whether endogenous brain IL-1 occurring physiologically outside of the context of inflammation or acute neurogenic injury has role in the regulation of key CNS functions, such as the response to psychological stress, learning and memory, food intake and body weight regulation. Additionally, a role for brain cytokines in the biology of psychiatric disorders has not yet been fully established. A promising avenue for applied for applied research in this area is the development of IL-1 based interventions for the treatment of human CNS disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalNeuroImmune Biology
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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