Recent Advances in the Understanding of Sepsis-Induced Alterations in the Neuroendocrine System
Fazal Wahab, Bibi Atika, Gabriela R. Oliveira-Pelegrin and Maria J. A. Rocha
Affiliation: Department of Morphology, Physiology and Basic Pathology, FORP, University of Sao Paulo Campus de Ribeirao Preto, Avenida do Cafe s/n, Monte Alegre, CEP 14040-904 Ribeirao Preto, São Paulo, Brazil.
Keywords: Cytokines, hormonal therapy, hypothalamus, immune system, neuroendocrine system, neuroendocrinopathy,
Sepsis is a fatal systemic inflammatory disease. It is caused by an immune system inflammatory response to the
entry of microorganisms or their products into the blood circulatory system. The pathophysiological mechanisms of sepsis
are still poorly understood. The presence of microorganisms in the systemic circulation causes activation of the immune
system, which in turn leads to a robust release of inflammatory cytokines. These inflammatory cytokines result in
alterations across all important physiological systems, including the neuroendocrine system. Neuroendocrine responses
differ between the acute and the late phase of sepsis. In the acute phase there are robust alterations in the secretion of
neuroendocrine hormones in response to body demand. In the late phase, the plasma concentrations of some hormones
remain low, despite heavy systemic demand, whereas several others increase despite of diminished needs. In this review,
we give a brief overview on sepsis-induced major alterations in neuroendocrine secretions, and summarize current
knowledge about mechanisms and targets for their treatment.
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