Cytokines and their receptors in the central nervous system: physiology, pharmacology, and pathology

Pharmacol Ther. 1996;69(2):85-95. doi: 10.1016/0163-7258(95)02033-0.


Numerous cytokines and their receptors have been identified in the brain, where they act as mediators of host defence responses and have direct effects on neuronal and glial function. Experimental tools for studying cytokine actions, their source and control of synthesis in the brain, actions and mechanisms of action will be reviewed here. In particular, the cytokines interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumour necrosis factor-alpha have been implicated in the central control of responses to systemic disease and injury and activation of fever, neuroendocrine, immune, and behavioural responses. The recent discovery of specific inhibitors of cytokine synthesis, release, or action may offer significant therapeutic benefit.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Cytokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Receptors, Interleukin / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Interleukin