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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of early cytokine responses and an interleukin (IL)-6-dependent pathway of endogenous glucocorticoid induction during murine cytomegalovirus infection.

Early infection with murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) induces circulating levels of interleukin (IL)-12, interferon (IFN)-gamma, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Studies presented here further characterize these responses by defining kinetics and extending evaluation to include IL-1, IL-6, and glucocorticoids. IL-12 p40, IFN-gamma, TNF, IL-1alpha, and IL-6 were shown to be increased, but IL-1beta was undetectable, in serum of MCMV-infected mice. The IL-12 p40, IFN-gamma, TNF, and IL-6 responses were dramatic with peak levels reaching >150-10,000 pg/ml at 32-40 h after infection and rapidly declining thereafter. Glucocorticoid induction, peaking at 36 h and reaching 30-fold increases above control values, accompanied the cytokine responses. Mice with cytokine deficiencies or neutralized cytokine function demonstrated that IL-6 was the pivotal mediator of the glucocorticoid response, with IL-1 contributing to IL-6 production. The IL-6 requirement appeared to be specific for virus-type stimuli as the synthetic analogue of viral nucleic acid, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid, also induced IL-6-dependent glucocorticoid release, but treatments with the bacterial product lipopolysaccharide and a non-immune physical restraint stressor elicited IL-6-independent responses. Collectively, the results identify IL-6 as a primary mediator of glucocorticoid induction, and elucidate specific pathways of interactions between immune and neuroendocrine systems during viral infection.[1]


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