Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Source Of Fever Identified

Date:
August 7, 2007
Source:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Summary:
With the finding that fever is produced by the action of a hormone on a specific site in the brain, scientists have answered a key question as to how this adaptive function helps to protect the body during bacterial infection and other types of illness.

With the finding that fever is produced by the action of a hormone on a specific site in the brain, scientists have answered a key question as to how this adaptive function helps to protect the body during bacterial infection and other types of illness.

Related Articles


"This study shows how the brain produces fever responses during infections," explains senior author Clifford Saper, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Neurology at BIDMC and James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. "Our laboratory identified the key site in the brain at which a hormone called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) acts on a target, called the EP3 receptor, on neurons to cause the fever response."

During periods of inflammation, such as when the body is fighting an infection or illness, the body produces hormones known as cytokines. The cytokines, in turn, act on blood vessels in the brain to produce PGE2.

"PGE2 then enters the brain's hypothalamus, causing fever, loss of appetite, fatigue and general feelings of sickness and achiness," says Saper, explaining that these common symptoms of illness function as an adaptive response to enable the body to better fight infection.

"When body temperature is elevated by a few degrees, white blood cells can fight infections more effectively. Also, individuals tend to become achy and lethargic. Consequently," he adds, "they tend to take it easy, thereby conserving their energy so that they can better fight the infection. That is why so many different types of illness result in more or less the same sickness behaviors."

To this point, the specific neurons on which PGE2 was acting to produce fever were unknown. Saper and his colleagues created a knockout mouse in which the gene for the EP3 receptor -- which registers the presence of PGE2 -- could be removed in one part of the brain at a time.

"This was the first time that anyone has been able to remove the receptor at a single spot in the brain," says Saper. "As a result, we are able to definitively say that this particular site in the brain -- only a little bigger than the head of a pin -- is where prostaglandins work to cause the fever response.

"We think that the other aspects of sickness behavior, such as the achiness caused by increased sensitivity to pain, also come from specific sites in the brain," he adds. "We plan to use this same approach to dissect the brain's response to inflammation, and find out why people feel the way they do when they are ill."

Reported by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), the study results appeared recently in Nature Neuroscience's advance online publication.

In addition to Saper, coauthors include BIDMC investigators Michael Lazarus, PhD(lead author), Kyoko Yoshida, PhD, Takatoshi Mochizuki, PhD, Bradford Lowell, MD, PhD, and Roberto Coppari, PhD; and Caroline Bass, PhD, of Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

This study was funded by grants from the U.S. Public Health Service.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Source Of Fever Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805161045.htm>.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2007, August 7). Source Of Fever Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805161045.htm
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Source Of Fever Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070805161045.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins