The neuroendocrine control of the innate immune system in health and brain diseases

Authors

  • Marc-André Bellavance,

    1. Laboratory of Endocrinology and Genomics, CHUQ Research Center and Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Québec, Canada.
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  • Serge Rivest

    1. Laboratory of Endocrinology and Genomics, CHUQ Research Center and Department of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Laval University, Québec, Canada.
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Serge Rivest
Laboratory of Endocrinology and Genomics
CHUQ Research Center and Department of Molecular Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, Laval University
2705 Laurier boul.
Québec, Canada G1V 4G2
Tel.: +1 418 654 2296
Fax: +1 418 654 2761
e-mail: serge.rivest@crchul.ulaval.ca

Abstract

Summary:  The innate immune reaction takes place in the brain during immunogenic challenges, injury, and disease. Such a response is highly regulated by numerous anti-inflammatory mechanisms that may directly affect the ultimate consequences of such a reaction within the cerebral environment. The neuroendocrine control of this innate immune system by glucocorticoids is critical for the delicate balance between cell survival and damage in the presence of inflammatory mediators. Glucocorticoids play key roles in regulating the expression of inflammatory genes, and they also have the ability to modulate numerous functions that may ultimately lead to brain damage or repair after injury. Here we review these mechanisms and discuss data supporting both neuroprotective and detrimental roles of the neuroendocrine control of innate immunity.

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