How cytokines modulate learning and memory

25th Feb 2021

In a recent article published in the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) journal, Brain and Neuroscience Advances, authors, Julie-Myrtille Bourgognon and Jonathan Cavanagh, review the role of cytokines in modulating learning, memory and brain plasticity.

What are cytokines?

Cytokines are typically secreted by the body in response to harmful stimuli and during chronic diseases such as arthritis,Cytokines role in memory depression and Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, they are also produced in physiological conditions and participate with general brain functions.

In the article, the authors describe the beneficial role of the three main cytokines: interleukin 1β, interleukin 6 and tumour necrosis factor α. Studying each of them in normal conditions, when they support learning and memory processes, as well as the ability of the brain cells to adapt to experiences.

However, the study shows that when pathological inflammation occurs, cytokine levels become chronically elevated and detrimental to memory mechanisms and associated behaviours, leading to specific remodelling of particular areas of the brain, cell death and cognitive impairments.

The article highlights the difficulty to distinguish which molecular mechanisms are engaged in cytokine actions in either beneficial or detrimental roles, which renders the development of treatment for chronic illnesses challenging. 

Click here to read the full article

About Brain and Neuroscience Advances  

Brain and Neuroscience Advances is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, which publishes high quality translational and clinical articles from all neuroscience disciplines; including molecular, cellular, systems, behavioural and cognitive investigations.

The journal welcomes submissions in basic, translational and/or clinical neuroscience. Research papers should present novel, empirical results that are expected to be of interest to a broad spectrum of neuroscientists working in the laboratory, field or clinic. 

Brain and Neuroscience Advances is now indexed in PubMed Central.

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