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. 2017 Jun 20;11:316.
doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2017.00316. eCollection 2017.

Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases

Free PMC article

Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases

Yun-Zi Liu et al. Front Hum Neurosci. .
Free PMC article


While modernization has dramatically increased lifespan, it has also witnessed that the nature of stress has changed dramatically. Chronic stress result failures of homeostasis thus lead to various diseases such as atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and depression. However, while 75%-90% of human diseases is related to the activation of stress system, the common pathways between stress exposure and pathophysiological processes underlying disease is still debatable. Chronic inflammation is an essential component of chronic diseases. Additionally, accumulating evidence suggested that excessive inflammation plays critical roles in the pathophysiology of the stress-related diseases, yet the basis for this connection is not fully understood. Here we discuss the role of inflammation in stress-induced diseases and suggest a common pathway for stress-related diseases that is based on chronic mild inflammation. This framework highlights the fundamental impact of inflammation mechanisms and provides a new perspective on the prevention and treatment of stress-related diseases.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease; depression; inflammation; metabolic disease; neurodegenerative disease; neuroimmunomodulation; neurotransmitter; stress-related disease.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Scheme for the relationship among stress, inflammation and stress-related diseases. (A) Stress, including psychosocial, material, patho/physiological stressors, induces chronic CNS and peripheral inflammation, which is then related to stress-related diseases. (B) Stress-induced chronic low-grade inflammation might be the common soil of stress-related diseases. Multifactorial factors, including genetic predisposition, aging and life style and so on, act on stress-related diseases. Stress-induced inflammatory response represents the common soil of a wide variety of the chronic multifactorial diseases.

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