[The immune system of the hunter-gatherer meets poverty and excess]

Lakartidningen. 2000 Apr 12;97(15):1823-6.
[Article in Swedish]

Abstract

The immune system is closely integrated with the neuroendocrine system, and infection-induced increases in cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6 and TNF have numerous effects on the central nervous system. These include stimulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, as well as of leptin production. The increase in leptin causes loss of appetite, which may be deleterious for children who are living under conditions of poverty, have frequent infections and are often already undernourished. These cytokines may also be involved in problems of obesity, since they activate the HPA-axis and since TNF is produced by fat cells and can cause insulin resistance. The immune system originally developed for hunter-gatherers may not be well adapted to the pathology of poverty or that of excess.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Adult
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Child
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
  • Immune System / metabolism
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin / biosynthesis
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Leptin / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Nutrition Disorders / embryology
  • Nutrition Disorders / immunology
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology
  • Poverty
  • Risk Factors
  • Virus Diseases / immunology

Substances

  • Cytokines
  • Insulin
  • Leptin
  • Neurotransmitter Agents