Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
The sensory circumventricular organs (CVOs) are specialized brain regions that lack a tight blood-brain barrier. A role for these brain structures in signaling the brain during systemic inflammation is based on the following sets of observations. In spite of some conflicting data from literature, lesions of CVOs have been shown to block several components of brain controlled illness responses (i.e. fever or neuroendocrine modifications). Receptors for inflammatory cytokines and for bacterial fragments are constitutively expressed in cells within the sensory CVOs. The expression of most of these receptors is upregulated under conditions of systemic inflammation. Cellular responses in theses brain areas can be recorded and documented after stimulation of these respective receptors. Such responses include changes in electrical activity of neurons, induction of transcription factors leading to modifications in gene expression during inflammation and to a localized release of secondary signal molecules. These molecules may influence or even gain access to neural structures inside the blood-brain barrier, which can normally not directly be reached by circulating cytokines or bacterial fragments.