Interactions between the immune system and the hypothalamo-pituitary-interrenal axis in fish

F.A.A. Weyts, N. Cohen, G. Flik, B.M.L. Verburg-van Kemenade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)


Endocrine-immune interaction in mammals is realized through a bi-directional communication network functioning through shared receptors and signal molecules to ensure physiological homeostasis. Maintenance of physio-logical homeostasis in a changing and challenging environment is pivotal to the survival of every organism. This review summarises knowledge on immune-endocrine interactions in fish, with focus on the central role of the hypothalamo-pituitary-interrenal axis. Teleosts have well-developed immune and endocrine systems that require communication to realize homeostasis. The head kidney of fish takes a particular place in the study of immune-endocrine interactions. It combines in one organ key-features of both systems: haematopoiesis, antibody production and cortisol and catecholamine production. The head kidney, therefore, offers the opportunity for direct paracrine communication between the immune and endocrine systems in a specific microenvironment. We consider this interaction of relevance durig basal conditions as well as during situations of stress.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalFish and Shellfish Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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