For the first time, researchers decipher the origin – healing practice

Fever arises in the brain

Fever can be a symptom of many diseases. While the purpose of fever and treatments against it are well known, it has remained unclear how increase in body temperature is triggered and controlled. A Swedish research team has now been able to solve this decades-old mystery.

researchers of Linköping University in Sweden have demonstrated in a recent study that certain cells in the blood-brain barrier are responsible for triggering fever. The results of the study were recently published in the renowned journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” presented.

Identified triggers for fever

The Swedish working group has identified cells in the blood vessels of the brain in mice that are necessary for a fever reaction. According to the research team, the discovery answers the long unanswered question, how fever develops and which organs are involved.

Everyone has a fever

“Everyone has an occasional fever”reported Professor Anders Blomqvist from Linkoping University. But only if the mechanisms that lead to Fever are adequately understood, better treatment approaches can be developed.

Why do we need fever?

As the scientists involved explain, fever is a reaction of the body to infections or inflammation. It is one of the natural defense mechanisms, for example against viruses and bacteria. This is when the body temperature is elevated immune system able to fight pathogens faster.

In the event of infection or inflammation, the body releases certain messenger substances into the bloodstream, which are cytokines be designated. These molecules are too big for the blood-brain barrier to happen. So they can’t get into the brain. The blood-brain barrier is a network of tiny blood vessels tasked with protecting our brain from harmful substances.

How is the brain informed of infections?

Nevertheless, fever can only develop when the brain has triggered the appropriate signals. The crucial question in this context was therefore how the brain even recognizes that the body is affected by an infection or inflammation.

Information is passed at the blood-brain barrier

As the researchers discovered in the current study on mice, receptors on the outer surface of the blood-brain barrier responsible for the recognition of cytokines. They transmit the signal to the brain.

specialized endothelial cellsthat on the inside of the blood vessels located in the blood-brain barrier are responsible for this transmission. The cells start making a hormone-like molecule called Prostaglandin E2 to produce, which in turn activates receptors in the hypothalamus. Of the Hypothalamus is a brain region that also serves as Body thermostat acts.

A decades-old mystery solved

“Our results answer a question that has been asked for several decades”stressed Professor Blomqvist. According to him, there was no evidence that fever is controlled solely by the brain response.

The researchers were now able to provide this evidence using mice that had been genetically modified in such a way that they could not produce prostaglandin E2. When these mice were infected with bacteria that caused infection, the body was no longer able to produce a fever.

This is how fever develops

The working group therefore concludes that Endothelial cells in the blood-brain barrier for the development of fever are responsible by recognizing cytokines via receptors and in response to this produce the messenger substance prostaglandin E2, which triggers the fever reaction in the hypothalamus. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of medical specialist literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Linköping University: The brain cells needed for fever (veröffentlicht: 26.10.2022),
  • Kiseko Shionoya, Anna Eskilsson, Anders Blomqvist, et al.: Prostaglandin production selectively in brain endothelial cells is both necessary and sufficient for eliciting fever; in: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2022),

Important NOTE:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.

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