TRIF is a key inflammatory mediator of acute sickness behavior and cancer cachexia

Kevin G. Burfeind, Xinxia Zhu, Peter R. Levasseur, Katherine A. Michaelis, Mason A. Norgard, Daniel L. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Hypothalamic inflammation is a key component of acute sickness behavior and cachexia, yet mechanisms of inflammatory signaling in the central nervous system remain unclear. Previous work from our lab and others showed that while MyD88 is an important inflammatory signaling pathway for sickness behavior, MyD88 knockout (MyD88KO) mice still experience sickness behavior after inflammatory stimuli challenge. We found that after systemic lipopolysaccharide (LPS) challenge, MyD88KO mice showed elevated expression of several cytokine and chemokine genes in the hypothalamus. We therefore assessed the role of an additional inflammatory signaling pathway, TRIF, in acute inflammation (LPS challenge) and in a chronic inflammatory state (cancer cachexia). TRIFKO mice resisted anorexia and weight loss after peripheral (intraperitoneal, IP) or central (intracerebroventricular, ICV) LPS challenge and in a model of pancreatic cancer cachexia. Compared to WT mice, TRIFKO mice showed attenuated upregulation of Il6, Ccl2, Ccl5, Cxcl1, Cxcl2, and Cxcl10 in the hypothalamus after IP LPS treatment, as well as attenuated microglial activation and neutrophil infiltration into the brain after ICV LPS treatment. Lastly, we found that TRIF was required for Ccl2 upregulation in the hypothalamus and induction of the catabolic genes, Mafbx, Murf1, and Foxo1 in gastrocnemius during pancreatic cancer. In summary, our results show that TRIF is an important inflammatory signaling mediator of sickness behavior and cachexia and presents a novel therapeutic target for these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-374
Number of pages11
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Cachexia
  • Hypothalamus
  • Microglia
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Sickness behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'TRIF is a key inflammatory mediator of acute sickness behavior and cancer cachexia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this