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J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Oct 2;110(1-2):223-9.

Stress induces increases in IL-6 production by leucocytes of patients with the chronic inflammatory disease juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: a putative role for alpha(1)-adrenergic receptors.

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Laboratory of Pediatric Immunology, Wilhelmina Children's Hospital of the University Medical Center Utrecht, Room KC03.068.0, Lundlaan 6, 3584 EA, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is characterized by chronic inflammation of the joints. In the present study we demonstrate that exposure of JRA patients to a noradrenergic stressor (cold pressor test) results in enhanced LPS-induced IL-6 production by peripheral blood cells of these patients. Healthy, age-matched controls had the same rise in norepinephrine, but do not respond with changes in IL-6 production after exposure to the cold pressor test. Moreover, PBMC of patients with JRA express mRNA encoding alpha(1)-adrenergic receptors (AR), predominantly of the alpha(1d)-AR subtype. In contrast, we could not detect mRNA encoding for alpha(1)-AR in PBMC of healthy controls. The results of this study suggest that expression of alpha(1)-AR mRNA in PBMC during chronic inflammation is associated with altered responses of the immune system to stress.

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