IL-1β immunoreactive neurons in the human hypothalamus: Reduced numbers in multiple sclerosis

Inge Huitinga, Maarten Van Der Cammen, Liesbeth Salm, Zeynel Erkut, Anne Marie Van Dam, Fred Tilders, Dick Swaab

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Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-containing neurons in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) in the hypothalamus of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are hyperactivated. Since interleukin-1 (IL-1)β is a powerful activator of CRH neurons, its immunohistochemical expression was studied in the postmortem hypothalamus of MS patients (n=11) and matched controls (n=11). Hypothalamic tissue of 10/11 MS patients showed demyelinating lesions that in many cases contained IL-1β-immunoreactive (ir) macrophages and glial cells. In control subjects IL-1β-ir was only sporadically found in glial cells. Interestingly, abundant IL-1β-ir was also present in hypothalamic neurons. Neuronal IL-1β co-localised with oxytocin and not with vasopressin or CRH. IL-1β clearly yielded a less intense staining in neurons and numbers of IL-1-ir neurons in the PVN were 4.5-fold reduced in MS. We suggest that IL-1β produced by activated glial cells in the hypothalamus of MS patients may contribute to the activation of the hypothalamic CRH neurons, while reduced expression of neuronal IL-1β in MS patients may have consequences for neuroendocrine, behavioural or autonomic functioning. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2000


  • Corticotropin-releasing hormone
  • Demyelination
  • Hypothalamus
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Interleukin-1
  • Multiple sclerosis

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