Immune Response

Tom Thatcher ttha at uhura.cc.rochester.edu
Wed Apr 24 10:07:17 EST 1996

In <199604231717.NAA22794 at gort.canisius.edu> leoncem at wehle.canisius.edu ("Michelle L. Leonce") writes:

>Could someone direct me to a resource to answer this question: what is 
>the body trying to accomplish by causing fever as part of the immune 
>response? Is it in any way linked to inflammation as there is often a 
>raise in temperature at the site of infection too, such as a cut on the 
>finger? Thanks for any help at all.

This sounds suspiciously like a test question. :)  However, very briefly:

LPS induces both inflammation and fever.  IL-1 and TNF-alpha
(proinflammatory cytokines) also induce fever.  The fact that there has
been a release of IL-1 and TNF-alpha at a peripheral site gets
communicated to the brain, either directly via the bloodstream or
indirectly via the parasympathetic nervous system, and raises the set point
in the thermoregulatory region of the hypothalamus.

Why does this happen?  Since it evolved this way it must be important,
but there is no way to be 100% sure.  Some explanations are; interfere
with viral replication, interfere with bacterial growth by affecting
availability of temperature-sensitive nutrients, enhance antigen presenting
function of macrophages, and more.

Tom Thatcher                          | You can give a PC to a Homo habilis,
University of Rochester Cancer Center | and he'll use it, but he'll use it
ttha at uhura.cc.rochester.edu           | to crack nuts.

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