Endotoxin-induced experimental systemic inflammation in humans: a model to disentangle immune-to-brain communication

Brain Behav Immun. 2014 Jan:35:1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2013.09.015. Epub 2013 Oct 24.


Systemic inflammation is among the most prominent and most frequently observed responses of the immune system. Over the past decades, it has become clear that inflammatory cytokines not only affect immune and metabolic functions but also cause a wide range of behavioral and mood changes. Based on experimental findings in animals and observations in clinical populations it has been hypothesized that inflammation-induced neurocognitive changes contribute to the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric diseases. However, since certain aspects of human behavior cannot be modeled in laboratory animals, there is a need for human models of systemic inflammation. In this review, we summarize recent studies employing administration of endotoxin as a model to induce transient systemic inflammation in healthy human subjects.

Keywords: Cytokines; Experimental inflammation; Human endotoxemia; Immune-to-brain communication; Lipopolysaccharide (LPS); Sickness behavior; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Endotoxemia / immunology*
  • Endotoxemia / psychology*
  • Endotoxins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Illness Behavior*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / metabolism
  • Models, Immunological
  • Neuroimmunomodulation*


  • Cytokines
  • Endotoxins
  • Lipopolysaccharides