Neuroendocrine-immune interactions in fish : a role for interleukin-1

M.Y. Engelsma, M.O. Huising, W.B. van Muiswinkel, G. Flik, J. Kwang, B.M.L. Verburg-van Kemenade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Bi-directional communication between the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA)-axis and the sympathetic nervous system with the immune system is crucial to ensure homeostasis. Shared use of ligands and especially receptors forms a key component of this bi-directional interaction. Glucocorticoids (GC), the major end products of the HPA-axis differentially modulate immune function. Cytokines, especially interleukin-1 (IL-1), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), ensure immune signalling to the neuroendocrine system. In addition, hormones from leukocyte origin such as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and β-endorphin, as well as centrally synthesised and secreted cytokines, contribute to the communication network. In teleost fish cortisol is the major product of the hypothalamus–pituitary–interrenal (HPI)-axis which is the teleost equivalent of the HPA-axis. Moderate and substantial increases in cortisol during stressful circumstances negatively affect B-lymphocytes, whereas rescue of neutrophilic granulocytes may support innate immunity. Recent elucidation of lower vertebrate cytokine sequences has facilitated research into neuroendocrine–immune interactions in teleosts and the first evidence for a significant function of interleukin-1 in the bi-directional communication is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-479
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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