Brain Cytokines and the 5-HT System during Poly I:C-Induced Fatigue

Journal: Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006 Nov;1088:230-7. Authors and affiliation: Katafuchi T, Kondo T, Take S, Yoshimura M. Affiliation: Department of Integrative Physiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 812-8582, Japan. [E-mail: kataf@physiol.med.kyushu-u.ac.jp ] PMID: 17192569

Fatigue is evoked not only by peripheral factors, such as muscle fatigue, but also by the central nervous system (CNS). For example, it is generally known that the feeling of fatigue is greatly influenced by psychological aspects, such as motivation. However, little is known about the central mechanisms of fatigue.

The clinical symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are shown to include disorders in neuroendocrine, autonomic, and immune systems. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that cytokines produced in the brain play significant roles in neural-immune interactions through their various central actions, including hypothalamo-pituitary and sympathetic activation, as well as immunosuppression.

In this article, using the immunologically induced fatigue model, which was achieved by intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of synthetic double-stranded RNAs, polyriboinosinic: polyribocytidylic acid (poly I:C) in rats, we show an involvement of brain interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) and serotonin (5-HT) transporter (5-HTT) in the central mechanisms of fatigue. In the poly I:C-induced fatigue rats, expression of IFN-alpha and 5-HTT increased, while extracellular concentration of 5-HT in the medial prefrontal cortex decreased, probably on account of the enhanced expression of 5-HTT.

Since the poly I:C-induced reduction of the running wheel activity was attenuated by a 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist, but not by 5-HT(2), 5-HT(3), or dopamine D(3) receptor agonists, it is suggested that the decrease in 5-HT actions on 5-HT(1A) receptors may at least partly contribute to the poly I:C-induced fatigue.

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