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Neuroimmunomodulation. 2014;21(2-3):95-101. doi: 10.1159/000356535. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Chronic low-grade inflammation in metabolic disorders: relevance for behavioral symptoms.

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Nutrition and Integrative Neurobiology (NutriNeuro), UMR 1286, National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRA) and Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France.


The ability of cytokines to influence cerebral functions and to induce the development of behavioral alterations is well established in conditions of acute or chronic high-grade activation of the innate immune system. Recent evidence suggests that the release of these immune mediators during chronic low-grade endogenous inflammatory processes may also contribute to the development of behavioral alterations. Metabolic disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome, represent examples of those conditions which are both characterized by a chronic low-grade inflammatory state and an increased prevalence of behavioral disorders. In metabolic disorders, the increased production of acute-phase proteins and cytokines (e.g. C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α), but at relatively low levels, may promote and contribute to the development of behavioral symptoms, including depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, fatigue, sleep problems and pain. This hypothesis is supported by a growing literature referring both to experimental and clinical findings that will be reviewed here.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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