Rapid linkage of innate immunological signals to adaptive immunity by the brain-fat axis

Min Soo Kim, Jingqi Yan, Wenhe Wu, Guo Zhang, Yalin Zhang, Dongsheng Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Innate immunological signals induced by pathogen- and/or damage-associated molecular patterns are essential for adaptive immune responses, but it is unclear if the brain has a role in this process. Here we found that while the abundance of tumor-necrosis factor (TNF) quickly increased in the brain of mice following bacterial infection, intra-brain delivery of TNF mimicked bacterial infection to rapidly increase the number of peripheral lymphocytes, especially in the spleen and fat. Studies of various mouse models revealed that hypothalamic responses to TNF were accountable for this increase in peripheral lymphocytes in response to bacterial infection. Finally, we found that hypothalamic induction of lipolysis mediated the brain's action in promoting this increase in the peripheral adaptive immune response. Thus, the brain-fat axis is important for rapid linkage of innate immunity to adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-533
Number of pages9
JournalNature Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 28 2015


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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