Research interests in the pain field:
My main research interest has been in the bidirectional communication pathways between psychoneuroendocrine variables (such as stress and depression) and physiological defense systems, including the endogenous pain-inhibitory system and the immune system. My earlier work in the area of pain focused on the role of stress-related neuropeptides and opiates in modulation of pain and immunity. In the last few years, my focus of interest changed to the effects of immune activation and cytokine secretion on brain and behavior. In my studies I examine the neurobehavioral aspects of illness, using a variety of experimental models of infectious and autoimmune diseases in both animals and humans. Furthermore, I investigate the role of neuro-immune mechanisms (particularly brain interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha in mediating illness-associated changes in pain, ingestive, explorative, social and sexual behaviors, as well as emotional (particularly depression) and cognitive disturbances.
Sample of publications:
Marek, P., Yirmiya, R., and Liebeskind, J.C., Strain differences in the magnitude of
swimming-induced analgesia correlate with brain opiate receptor concentration.
Brain Research, 447: 188-190, 1988.
Marek, P., Yirmiya, R., Panocka, I., and Liebeskind, J.C., Genetic influence on brain
stimulation-produced analgesia in mice: I. Correlation with stress-induced
analgesia. Brain Research, 489: 182-184, 1989.
Marek, P., Yirmiya, R., and Liebeskind, J.C., Genetic influences on brain stimulation-
produced analgesia in mice: II. Correlation with brain opiate receptor
concentration. Brain Research, 507: 155-157, 1990.
Yirmiya, R., Ben-Eliyahu, S., Shavit, Y., Marek, P., and Liebeskind, J.C., Stimulation
of the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) produces analgesia not mediated by vasopressin or endogenous opioids. Brain Research, 537: 169-174,
Marek, P., Yirmiya, R., and Liebeskind, J. C., Stimulation-produced analgesia in the
mouse: Evidence for laterality of opioid mediation. Brain Research, 541: 154-156,
Mogil, J. S., Marek, P., Yirmiya, R., Balian, H., Sadowski, B., Taylor, A. N., and
Liebeskind, J. C., Antagonism of the non-opioid component of ethanol-induced
analgesia by the NMDA receptor antagonist MK-801. Brain Research, 602: 126-
Page, G. G., Ben-Eliyahu, S., Yirmiya, R., and Liebeskind, J. C., Morphine attenuates
surgery-induced enhancement of metastatic colonization in rats. Pain, 54: 21-28,
Yirmiya, R., Rosen, H., Donchin, O., and Ovadia, H., Behavioral effects of
lipopolysaccharide in rats: Involvement of endogenous opioids. Brain Research,
648: 80-86, 1994.
Yirmiya, R., Endotoxin produces a depressive-like episode in rats. Brain Research, 711:
Yirmiya, R., Barak, O., Avitsur, R., Gallily R., and Weidenfeld, Y., Intracerebral
administration of Mycoplasma fermentans in rats produces sickness behavior:
Involvement of prostaglandins. Brain Research, 749: 71-81, 1997.
Yirmiya, R., Behavioral and psychological effects of immune activation: implications
for 'depression due to a general medical condition'. Current Opinion in Psychiatry.
10: 470-476, 1997.
Dantzer, R., Wollman, E. E., Vitkovik, L., and Yirmiya, R., Cytokines and depression:
Fortuitous or causative association. Molecular Psychiatry, 4:328-332, 1999.
Dantzer, R., Wollman, E. E., and Yirmiya, R. (Eds.), Cytokines, Stress and Depression.
Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press: New York, 1999.
Yirmiya, R., Weidenfeld, J., Barak, O., Avitsur, R., Polllak, Y., Gallily, R., Wohlman,
A., Ovadia, H., and Ben-Hur, T., The role of brain cytokines in mediating the
behavioral and neuroendocrine effects of intracerebral mycoplasma fermentans.
Brain Research, 829: 28-38, 1999.
Pollak, Y., Ovadia, H., Goshen, I., and Yirmiya, R., Behavioral aspects of experimental
allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Journal of Neuroimmunology, 104: 31-36,
Reichenberg, A., Yirmiya, R., Schuld, A., Kraus T., Haak M., Morag A., and
Pollmaecher T., Cytokine-mediated emotional and cognitive disturbances in
humans. Archives of General Psychiatry, 58: 445-452, 2001.
Yirmiya, R., Pollak, Y., Barak, O., Avitsur, R., Ovadia, H., Bette, M., Weihe, E., and
Weidenfeld, J., Antidepressants modulate the behavioral and physiological
responses to endotoxin in rats and mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 24: 531-544, 2001
Barak, O., Goshen, I., Ben-Hur, T., Weidenfeld, J., Taylor, A. N., and Yirmiya, R., Involvement of brain cytokines in the neurobehavioral disturbances induced by HIV-1 gp120. Brain Research, 933: 98-108, 2002.
Barak, O. Weidenfeld, J., Goshen, I., Ben-Hur, T., Taylor, A. N., and Yirmiya, R., HIV-1 glycoprotein 120 induces neurobehavioral and neuroendocrine changes in rats. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 16: 720-735, 2002.
Castanon, N., Leonard, B. E., Neveu, P. J., and Yirmiya, R. Effects of antidepressants on cytokine production and actions. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 16: 569-574, 2002.
Cohen, O., Erb, C., Ginzberg, D., Pollak, Y., Seidman, S., Yirmiya, R., and Soreq, H., Neuronal overexpression of “readthrough”acetylcholinesterase is associated with antisense-suppressible behavioral impairments. Molecular Psychiatry, 7: 874-885, 2002.
Pollak, Y., Orion, E., Ovadia, H. and Yirmiya, R. The EAE-associated behavioral syndrome: An animal model for depression due to multiple sclerosis. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 16: 533-543, 2002.
Pollak, Y., and Yirmiya, R. Cytokine-induced changes in mood and behavior: Implications for “depression due to a general medical condition“, immunotherapy and antidepressive treatment. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 5: 389-399, 2002.
Pollmächer, T., Haak, M., Schuld, A., Reichenberg, A. and Yirmiya, R. Low levels of inflammatory cytokines –do they influence human brain functions? Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 16: 525-532, 2002.
Reichenberg, A., Schuld, A., Kraus T., Haak M., Pollmächer, T., and Yirmiya, R., Endotoxin-induced anorexia in healthy human volunteers is mediated by cytokine secretion. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 27: 945-956, 2002.
Taylor, A., Tio, D. L., Ngy, S. H., and Yirmiya, R. Chronic alcohol consumption attenuates febrile responses to lipopolysaccharide and interleukin-1b in male rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 26: 44-52, 2002.
Taylor, A. N., Tritt, S.H., Tio, D., Romeo, H.E., and Yirmiya, R. Maternal adrenalectomy abrogates the effect of fetal alcohol exposure on IL-1b-induced febrile response of adult male offspring. Neuroendocrinology, 76: 185-192, 2002.
Yirmiya, R., Winocur, G., and Goshen, I. Involvement of interleukin-1 (IL-1) in learning and memory processes. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 78: 379-389, 2002.
Avital, A., Goshen, I., Kamseler, A., Segal, M., Iverfeldt, K., Richter-Levin-G., and Yirmiya, R. Impaired interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling is associated with defects in neural plasticity and memory processes. Hippocampus, in press.
Chronic blockade of interleukin-1 (IL-1) prevents and attenuates neuropathic pain behavior and spontaneous ectopic neuronal activity following nerve injury.
Gabay E, Wolf G, Shavit Y, Yirmiya R, Tal M.
Eur J Pain. 2011 Mar;15(3):242-8.