The neuroimmune-endocrine axis: Pathophysiological implications for the central nervous system cytokines and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal hormone dynamics

J. Licinio, P. Frost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Cytokines are molecules that were initially discovered in the immune system as mediators of communication between various types of immune cells. However, it soon became evident that cytokines exert profound effects on key functions of the central nervous system, such as food intake, fever, neuroendocrine regulation, long-term potentiation, and behavior. In the 80's and 90's our group and others discovered that the genes encoding various cytokines and their receptors are expressed in vascular, glial, and neuronal structures of the adult brain. Most cytokines act through cell surface receptors that have one transmembrane domain and which transduce a signal through the JAK/STAT pathway. Of particular physiological and pathophysiological relevance is the fact that cytokines are potent regulators of hypothalamic neuropeptidergic systems that maintain neuroendocrine homeostasis and which regulate the body's response to stress. The mechanisms by which cytokine signaling affects the function of stress-related neuroendocrine systems are reviewed in this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1148
Number of pages8
JournalBrazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Oct 2000


  • Central nervous system
  • Cytokines
  • Fever
  • Food intake
  • Immune system
  • Neuroendocrine regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Cell Biology

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