Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low levels of pro-inflammatory agent help cognition in rats

Date:
January 28, 2014
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
Although inflammation is frequently a cause of disease in the body, research indicates that low levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine in the brain are important for cognition. Cytokines are proteins produced by the immune system.

Although inflammation is frequently a cause of disease in the body, research from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio indicates that low levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine in the brain are important for cognition. Cytokines are proteins produced by the immune system.

Related Articles


Jennifer Donegan, graduate student, and David Morilak, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology in the School of Medicine, found that neutralizing the cytokine interleukin-6 in the brain impaired reversal learning in both stressed and nonstressed rats. Reversal learning is a form of cognitive flexibility that is diminished in psychiatric diseases such as depression, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder. Cognitive flexibility is the ability to change previously learned thoughts and behaviors in response to changes in the environment.

"When we started the project, we thought cognitive flexibility would be impaired by stress-induced inflammation in a region of the brain called the prefrontal cortex," Donegan said. "We decided to block interleukin-6 during stress to prevent the cognitive deficit, and to our surprise this made things worse. This suggested that it may actually be beneficial to maintain a low level of this pro-inflammatory cytokine in the brain."

As a key next step, the scientists were then able to fix the cognitive deficit caused by stress by restoring a low level of the cytokine specifically in the prefrontal cortex. Both scientists caution, however, that there is still much to learn about interleukin-6's role in cognition and in diseases like depression. "We've replicated just one piece of a very complex disease so we can understand the biology," Dr. Morilak said. "We found that, in one brain region, one cytokine facilitates cognitive flexibility and is beneficial after chronic stress. But we delivered the cytokine specifically into that brain region using a virus, which we cannot do in people. And its role in inflammation may be very different than in normal conditions. There's still a lot of work to do."

Donegan is on track to receive her Ph.D. later this year. She is lead author and Dr. Morilak is senior author of the study, published this month in the Journal of Neuroscience. The research is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. J. Donegan, M. Girotti, M. S. Weinberg, D. A. Morilak. A Novel Role for Brain Interleukin-6: Facilitation of Cognitive Flexibility in Rat Orbitofrontal Cortex. Journal of Neuroscience, 2014; 34 (3): 953 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3968-13.2014

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Low levels of pro-inflammatory agent help cognition in rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128163453.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2014, January 28). Low levels of pro-inflammatory agent help cognition in rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128163453.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Low levels of pro-inflammatory agent help cognition in rats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140128163453.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

Studying Effects of Music on Dementia Patients

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is studying the popular Music and Memory program to see if music, which helps improve the mood of Alzheimer's patients, can also reduce the use of prescription drugs for those suffering from dementia. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

Techy Tots Are Forefront of London's Baby Show

AP (Oct. 28, 2014) Moms and Dads get a more hands-on approach to parenting with tech-centric products for raising their little ones. (Oct. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Cocoa Could Be As Good For Memory As It Is For A Sweet Tooth

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) Researchers have come up with another reason why dark chocolate is good for your health. A substance in the treat can reportedly help with memory. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

Five-Year-Olds Learn Coding as Britain Eyes Digital Future

AFP (Oct. 27, 2014) Coding has become compulsory for children as young as five in schools across the UK. Making it the first major world economy to overhaul its IT teaching and put programming at its core. Duration: 02:19 Video provided by AFP
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