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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Jul 10;107(1):8-20.

IL-1beta immunoreactive neurons in the human hypothalamus: reduced numbers in multiple sclerosis.

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Graduate School of Neurosciences Amsterdam, Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Meibergdreef 33, 1105 AZ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-containing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in the hypothalamus of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are hyperactivated. Since interleukin-1 (IL-1)beta is a powerful activator of CRH neurons, its immunohistochemical expression was studied in the postmortem hypothalamus of MS patients (n=11) and matched controls (n=11). Hypothalamic tissue of 10/11 MS patients showed demyelinating lesions that in many cases contained IL-1beta-immunoreactive (ir) macrophages and glial cells. In control subjects IL-1beta-ir was only sporadically found in glial cells. Interestingly, abundant IL-1beta-ir was also present in hypothalamic neurons. Neuronal IL-1beta co-localised with oxytocin and not with vasopressin or CRH. IL-1beta clearly yielded a less intense staining in neurons and numbers of IL-1-ir neurons in the PVN were 4.5-fold reduced in MS. We suggest that IL-1beta produced by activated glial cells in the hypothalamus of MS patients may contribute to the activation of the hypothalamic CRH neurons, while reduced expression of neuronal IL-1beta in MS patients may have consequences for neuroendocrine, behavioural or autonomic functioning.

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