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Pain. 1995 Dec;63(3):289-302.

Immune activation: the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in inflammation, illness responses and pathological pain states.

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Department of Psychology, University of Colorado at Boulder, 80309, USA.


It has recently become accepted that the activated immune system communicates to brain via release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. This review examines the possibility that pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukins and/or tumor necrosis factor) mediate a variety of commonly studied hyperalgesic states. We will first briefly review basic immune responses and inflammation. We will then develop the concept of illness responses and provide evidence for their existence and for the dramatic changes in neural functioning that they cause. Lastly, we will examine the potential roles that both pro-inflammatory cytokines and the neural circuits that they activate may play in the hyperalgesic states produced by irritants, inflammatory agents, and nerve damage. The possibility is raised that apparently diverse hyperalgesic states may converge in the central nervous system and activate similar or identical neural circuitry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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