The role of inflammatory cytokines as key modulators of neurogenesis

Trends Neurosci. 2015 Mar;38(3):145-57. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2014.12.006. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


Neurogenesis is an important process in the regulation of brain function and behaviour, highly active in early development and continuing throughout life. Recent studies have shown that neurogenesis is modulated by inflammatory cytokines in response to an activated immune system. To disentangle the effects of the different cytokines on neurogenesis, here we summarise and discuss in vitro studies on individual cytokines. We show that inflammatory cytokines have both a positive and negative role on proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Hence, this strengthens the notion that inflammation is involved in molecular and cellular mechanisms associated with complex cognitive processes and, therefore, that alterations in brain-immune communication are relevant to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Keywords: cell differentiation; cytokines; immune activation; inflammation; interleukins; neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation / physiology
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*


  • Cytokines