Phantastic news! The first paper as part of the PhD by Johanna Voges is finally published! In this paper we assessed the link between baseline plasma levels of the cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 and neural markers of psychosocial stress. Using the Montreal Imaging Stress Task (MIST) we scanned 65 healthy individuals and found a negative association between circulating basal IL-6 levels and activity in the AI and amygdala in response to social evaluative stress. The results extend on the existing literature on the association between acute immune and neural responses to social threats but indicate an opposite correlation for baseline levels of IL-6. This finding suggests that previous theories about the relationship between immune parameters and brain responses may be too simplistic. For future models of cytokine-brain interactions, it would be desirable to consider both, processes of acute activation of the immune system as well as basal levels of cytokines. In this context, a broader perspective that is not simply treating cytokines as markers of an inflammatory state is demanded.
Voges, J. F., Müller-Pinzler, L., Neis, M., Luebber, F., Lange, T., Hundt, J. E., Kasten, M., Krämer, U. M., Krach, S., & Rademacher, L. (2022). Association of stress-related neural activity and baseline interleukin-6 plasma levels in healthy adults. Stress (Amsterdam, Netherlands), 25(1), 267–275. https://doi.org/10.1080/10253890.2022.2094704