Endotoxin-induced changes in food consumption in healthy volunteers are associated with TNF-α and IL-6 secretion

A. Reichenberg*, T. Kraus, M. Haack, A. Schuld, T. Pollmächer, R. Yirmiya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of endotoxin administration on food and water consumption in humans, and the associations between these changes and endotoxin-induced secretion of cytokines, cortisol, and fever. Twenty healthy male volunteers received an i.v. injection of Salmonella abortus equi endotoxin (0.8 ng/kg) or saline in two experimental sessions. Blood samples were collected hourly, and rectal temperature was monitored continuously. Food consumption was significantly reduced at 0-4 h and significantly elevated at 4-5 h after the endotoxin injection. Endotoxin administration had no significant effect on water consumption. Endotoxin-induced secretion of TNF-α and IL-6 was positively associated with the decrease in food consumption (r=0.61 and 0.68), and negatively associated with the rebound increase in food consumption (r=-0.53 and -0.45). Neither the febrile response, nor the secretion of cortisol was associated with the changes in food consumption. These results suggest that TNF-α and IL-6 are involved in endotoxin-induced anorexia in humans.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)945-956
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank Dr Chris Galanos (Max-Planck Institute of Immunobiology, Freiburg) for kindly providing the endotoxin preparation used in this study. This research was supported by a Grant from the G.I.F., the German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development. R.Y. is a member of the Eric Roland Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


  • Anorexia
  • Cytokines
  • Endotoxin
  • Food consumption


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