Daniel F. Hanson, Ph.D.


Immunology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314-935-7306

  • 314-935-7339

  • 314-935-5125

  • 116 McDonnell Hall

  • hanson@biology2.wustl.edu

  • immunology, lymphocyte, cytokine, fever, infection

  • Fever as an evolutionarily adaptive regulator of immune host defense

Research Abstract:

My research concerns the elucidation of the biological function of fever. The febrile response to infection and trauma is shared by all vertebrates and is completely penetrant. Normal body temperature is a carefully organized series of spatial temperature gradients whose shape and distribution are precisely reorganized during fever. Similarly, temperature changes are a chief component of local inflammation, particularly in the peripheral 50 percent of the body mass which is normally below 37C. Thus, local inflammation is like a localized form of fever in the sense that it represents a temporary reorganization of thermal gradients around a locus of infection or trauma. The association of regulated temperature increases with the acute response to infection suggests that temperature itself may act as a regulatory component in host defense. Endogenous pyrogens, the hormones which internally signal the febrile response, are actually cytokines (IL-1a, IL-1b, TNFb, TNFa, IFNa, IFNg, IL-6, MIP-1a, IL-2) that also possess a variety of potent proinflammatory and immunoregulatory properties. We have shown that mouse thymocyte and lymphocyte responses in vitro generate immunological effectors (CTL, Ab) in a highly temperature dependent fashion. However, once the effectors are formed, the expression of their effector activity is unrestricted by physiological temperature. Current studies indicate that this high temperature sensitivity results from thermoregulation of the production of key lymphokines from helper T cells. Current work is directed at understanding how temperature influences the production of different immunoregulatory cytokines by mouse and human cells. In particular we are focused on how temperature can influence the selection of helper T-cell phenotypes and subsequently influence the extent and character of memory formed within the immune system.

Selected Publications:

Hanson DF. Fever, temperature and the immune response. Ann NY Acad Sci 1997 813:453-465.

Hanson DF. Fever and the immune response: The effects of physiological temperature upon primary murine splenic T cell responses in vitro. J Immunol 1993 151:436-448.

Hanson DF, Murphy PA. Temperature sensitivity of interleukin-dependent murine T-cell proliferation: Q2 mapping of the responses of peanut agglutinin-negative thymocytes. J Immunol 1985 135:3011-3020.

Hanson DF, Murphy PA, Silicano R, et al. Effect of temperature on the activation of thymocytes by interleukins 1 and 2. J Immunol 1982 130:216-221.

Last Updated: 8/5/2013 11:41:46 AM

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