Share
Explore BrainMass

Inflammation and learning/memory

Many inflammatory diseases and infections, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, HIV-related dementia, prion diseases, and depression, may be associated with disruptions in cognitive function.

Solution Preview

A considerable amount of evidence indicates that the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS) operate in concert to exert their effects on the body. The CNS regulates the immune system through both the hormonal and neural pathways. An example of hormonal regulation of the immune system by the CNS is the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and the subsequent release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal cortex. Moreover, the immune system helps coordinate portions of the CNS activity. For example, behavioral signs of sickness (e.g., malaise, fatigue, reduced appetite), following peripheral bacterial ...

Solution Summary

Many inflammatory diseases and infections, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, HIV-related dementia, prion diseases, and depression, may be associated with disruptions in cognitive function.

Following entry into the CNS, cytokine production can lead both to behavioral and biological changes. Behavioral alterations coincide with the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the brain and are thought to be an organism's way of coping with illness.

However, along with the expression of this large set of adaptive behavioral and neural responses, emerge immune system-related, seemingly non-adaptive events, including cognitive alterations. More specifically, there is considerable amount of evidence to support the hypothesis that pro-inflammatory cytokines may adversely affect learning and memory processes, such as acquisition and consolidation.

$2.19