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Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Oct;23(7):877-84. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.04.006. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

Detrimental consequences of brain injury on peripheral cells.

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Center for Preclinical Investigation, Fondazione IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena, Milano, Italy.


Acute brain injury and brain death exert detrimental effects on peripheral host cells. Brain-induced impairment of immune function makes patients more vulnerable to infections that are a major cause of morbidity and mortality after stroke, trauma, or subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Systemic inflammation and organ dysfunction are other harmful consequences of CNS injury. Brain death, the most severe consequence of brain injury, causes inflammatory changes in peripheral organs that can contribute to the inferior outcome of organs transplanted from brain-dead donors. Understanding of the mechanisms underlying the detrimental effects of brain injury on peripheral organs remains incomplete. However, it appears that sympathetic nervous system (SNS)-activation contributes to elicit both inflammation and immunodepression. Indeed, norepinephrine (NE)-induced production of chemokines in liver and other organs likely participates in local and systemic inflammatory changes. Conversely, catecholamine-stimulated interleukin-10 (IL-10) production by blood monocytes exerts immunosuppressive effects. Activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) by increased inflammatory cytokines within the brain is a significant component in the CNS-induced immune function inhibition. Non-neurologic consequences of brain injury show impressive similarities regardless of the brain insult and appear to depend on altered neuroimmune circuits. Modulation of these circuits could reduce extra-brain damage and improve patient outcome in both vascular and traumatic brain injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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