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Volume 10 (2010), Pages 490-503
Review Article


Molecular and Integrative Neurosciences Department, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA

Received 26 February 2010; Revised 27 February 2010; Accepted 1 March 2010

Academic Editor: Sergi Ferre

Copyright © 2010 Tamas Bartfai and Bruno Conti.


Measurement of body temperature remains one of the most common ways to assess health. An increase in temperature above what is considered to be a normal value is inevitably regarded as a sure sign of disease and referred to with one simple word: fever. In this review, we summarize how research on fever allowed the identification of the exogenous and endogenous molecules and pathways mediating the fever response. We also show how temperature elevation is common to different pathologies and how the molecular components of the fever-generation pathway represent drug targets for antipyretics, such as acetylsalicylic acid, the first “blockbuster drug”. We also show how fever research provided new insights into temperature and energy homeostasis, and into treatment of infection and inflammation.