These studies established that cytokines can activate the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis,7,9 induce fever,10 prolong slow-wave sleep,11 reduce food12 and water intake,13 and decrease motility14
These effects were evident not only in experimental animal, but also in humans who received cytokine injections for cancer treatment.15,16 The most tested cytokine with regard to brain-immune interactions is interleukin-1 (IL-1), although other cytokines such as the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α),17,18 interferon (IFN),19,20 IL-2,21, Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical IL-6,22 and IL-1223 can all induce one or several of the above responses. A large number of studies have investigated the ways in which the cytokines influence brain function. Although there are still a lot of open questions, the following sections will try to give Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical a short overview of the current knowledge of this part of PNI. Cytokines Nomenclature The term cytokine defines a large group of nonenzymic proteins that act as hormones. Their actions, as well as their target cell populations, are both diverse and overlapping. Once released into the environment, cytokines traverse small distances to ligate their high-affinity receptors via either autocrine Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical or paracrine fashion. Upon ligation of the cytokine receptor, a signaling cascade is triggered resulting in an alteration in gene transcription by the target cell. The pleiotropic features
of cytokines have led Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to a confusing nomenclature because they were frequently named for their biological activity. It therefore repeatedly happened that a single cytokine was described by several names. Another problem in the nomenclature of cytokines emerged from their redundancy of action. In the 1970s, two terms were introduced: the term cytokine defined the large group of protein transmitters of the immune system. The term interleukin tried to list all known cytokines in numerical
order. At the time this article was written, the list of ILs ended at IL-27.24 Unfortunately, some PHA739358 historical groups like the IFNs, TNF, lymphotoxins (LT), transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ), Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical leukocyte inhibitory factor (LIF), and heptaminol most of the colony stimulating factors (CSFs) remained to be known by their old names.25 This is particularly confusing, for example, the IFNs are divided into two totally different groups: type I interferons (IFN-α, IFN-β and others) and type II interferon IFN-γ. On the other hand, the new group of chemokines was defined after IL-8 and several related cytokines were determined to form a distinct cytokine family. According to the complexity and diversity of the cytokines, there are several possibilities for grouping them. They can be grouped by structural similarities, clustered chromosomal localization of their encoding genes, or principally similar functional features. Structure The typical cytokine is a glycosylated monomeric peptide of about 150 amino acids.