Researchers found that the brain produces IL-1alpha in response to infection, according to study in Biological Psychiatry.

A team of investigators report that it only takes one one episode of systemic inflammation to accelerate the progression of dementia in mice with prior neurodegenerative disease.

They showed that the inflammatory response to infection leads to exaggerated symptoms of the infection, causes changes in memory and learning, as well as leads to a rapid decline in neurological function.

The research group also found that systemic inflammation leads to the production of a protein known as IL-1alpha by microglia. The proteins are created in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is involved in memory and learning. Scientists from the University of Southampton, who were involved in this study, previously showed a correlation between elevated blood IL-1alpha levels, recent infection, and subsequent cognitive decline.

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin also took part in the current study. The results are published this week in Biological Psychiatry.

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