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

J Neuroimmunol. 2000 Oct 2;110(1-2):223-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(00)00328-3.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / immunology*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cold Temperature
  • DNA Primers
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / immunology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-8 / immunology
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Monocytes / chemistry
  • Monocytes / immunology*
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Norepinephrine / immunology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / immunology
  • Stress, Physiological / immunology*


  • DNA Primers
  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1
  • Norepinephrine