More MS news articles for Jan 2002

Cytokines and chemokines: mediators for intercellular communication in the brain

Yakugaku Zasshi 2001 Dec;121(12):875-85
Minami M.
Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, 46-29 Yoshida, Shimoadachi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.

The brain includes glial cells (astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes) and endothelial cells in addition to neurons.

Under some pathological conditions, it is invaded by leukocytes such as neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages and lymphocytes.

Intercellular communication across these cell species is supposed to play crucial roles both in the brain functions and dysfunctions.

However, the molecular basis of such intercellular communication remains unclear.

We have studied the roles of cytokines and chemokines, which have been investigated as essential mediators in the immune and inflammatory systems, in intercellular communication across neurons, glial cells, endothelial cells and leukocytes.

Messenger RNA expression of cytokines such as interleukin-1 beta was induced in brain microglia by i.p. injection of excitotoxin and neurostimulant, at least, partly via catecholaminergic systems.

Messenger RNA of other cytokines such as leukemia inhibitory factor was induced in astrocytes.

This cytokine specifically induced nociceptin mRNA in the cultured cortical neurons.

Constitutive expression of some chemokines such as fractalkine and stromal cell derived factor-1 alpha was observed in the brain, suggesting that they play important roles in maintenance of brain homeostasis or determination of the patterning of neurons and/or glial cells in the developing and adult brains.

Cytokines such as interleukin-1 beta and chemokines such as monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha were produced in ischemic brain and implicated in ischemic brain injury.

In addition to ischemia, cytokines, chemokines and their receptors have been shown to be involved in various neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and AIDS dementia syndrome.

They are potential targets for therapeutic intervention for neurodegenerative diseases.

PMID: 11766402 [PubMed - in process]