The expression of TRPV channels, prostaglandin E2 and pro-inflammatory cytokines during behavioural fever in fish

Sebastian Boltana, Nataly Sanhueza, Andrea Donoso, Andrea Aguilar, Diego Crespo, Daniela Vergara, Gabriel Arriagada, Byron Morales-Lange, Luis Mercado, Sonia Rey, Lluis Tort, Simon Mackenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


A fever, or increased body temperature, is a symptom of inflammation, which is a complex defence reaction of the organism to pathogenic infections. After pathogens enter the body, immune cells secrete a number of agents, the functions of which stimulate the body to develop a functional immune and fever response. In mammals it is known that PGE 2 is the principal mediator of fever. The extent to which PGE 2 and other pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-6, or IL-1β could be involved in the induction of behavioural fever in fish remains to be clarified. Several members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels have been implicated as transducers of thermal stimuli, including TRPV1 and TRPV2, which are activated by heat. Here we show that members of the TRP family, TRPV1 and TRPV4, may participate in the coordination of temperature sensing during the behavioural fever. To examine the behavioral fever mechanism in Salmo salar an infection with IPNV, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus, was carried out by an immersion challenge with 10 × 10 5 PFU/mL −1 of IPNV. Behavioural fever impacted upon the expression levels of both TRPV1 and TRPV4 mRNAs after the viral challenge and revealed a juxtaposed regulation of TRPV channels. Our results suggest that an increase in the mRNA abundance of TRPV1 is tightly correlated with a significant elevation in the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α and PGE 2 ) in the Pre-Optic Area (POA) and cytokine release in plasma. Together, these data indicate that the reduction of TRPV4 expression during behavioural fever may contribute to the onset of behavioural fever influencing movement toward higher water temperatures. Our data also suggest an effect of TRPV channels in the regulation of behavioural fever through activation of EP3 receptors in the central nervous system by PGE 2 induced by plasma-borne cytokines. These results highlight for first time in mobile ectotherms the key role of pro-inflammatory cytokines and TRPV channels in behavioural fever that likely involves a complex integration of prostaglandin induction, cytokine recognition and temperature sensing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Behavioural fever
  • Cytokine
  • Ectotherm
  • TRP channels
  • Virus


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