Nutritional psychoneuroimmunology: is the inflammasome a critical convergence point for stress and nutritional dysregulation?

Albert E. Towers, Gregory G. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) aims to elucidate mechanisms by which the immune system can influence behavior. Given the complexity of the brain, studies using inbred rodents have shed critical insight into the presumed vagaries of the human condition. This is particularly true for stress modeling where adverse stimuli, conditions and/or interactions elicit patterned behavioral reactions that can translate across species. As example, sickness behaviors are as easily recognized in mice as they are in humans, and a family pet. Recently, nutrition has gained prominence as a regulator of brain function. Once perceived as mostly a peripheral player, except when manifest at extremes such as starvation or gluttony, nutritional and/or metabolic stress is now recognized as a worrisome contributor to poor mental health especially in those who suffer from food insecurity or overnutrition. In this review, we will explore emerging areas of rodent research that demonstrate the impact of nutritional status on the stressed brain. Our overall goal is to implicate inflammasome activation as a critical convergence point for stress and nutritional dysregulation. In doing so, we will present results from studies focused on macronutrient, micronutrient and dietary bioactives so as to encourage innovative investigation into the emerging field of nutritional PNI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-24
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Volume28
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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