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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2024 - 28 Jun 2024

2024 Jun 24

Brain Behav Immun


Editor's Pick

Social transmission of inflammation in mice.


Castany S, Batista Da Rosa P, Shionoya K, Blomqvist A, Engblom D


The ability to detect and respond to sickness in others promotes survival. Here we show that mouse dams respond to immune challenged pups by mirroring their inflammatory response. Dams with pups subjected to immune challenge displayed a marked induction of inflammatory mediators in both the brain and the periphery, accompanied by an increase in maternal behaviors and corticosterone levels. This social transmission of inflammation did not require physical contact, and it contributed to the stress hormone response in the dams. In adult dyads, interaction with an immune challenged cagemate did not elicit robust inflammatory signaling but induced an increased responsiveness to a subsequent immune challenge. The identification of social transmission of inflammation, or inflammatory responsiveness, may open new avenues for research on social behavior, just like the description of similar phenomena such as observational fear and transmitted pain has done.