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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neural-immune interactions: an integrative view of the bidirectional relationship between the brain and immune systems.

This review briefly summarizes a part of the relevant knowledge base of neuroimmunology, with particular emphasis on bidirectional neural-immune interactions. These complex systems interact at multiple levels. Both neuroendocrine (the primary hormonal pathway is hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) and neuronal (direct sympathetic innervation of the lymphoid organs) pathways are involved in the control of the humoral and cellular immune responses. Although, the recent evidence has been made on immunosuppressive effect of acetylcholine-secreting neurons of the parasympathetic nervous system. The immune system, in turn, influences the central nervous system primarily through cytokines. At the molecular level, neuro- and immune signal molecules (hormones, neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, cytokines) or their receptors are member of the same superfamily which enable the mutual neuroimmune communication. Most extensively studied are cytokine-neuropeptide/neurotransmitter interactions and the subcellular and molecular mechanisms of these interactions. At the system (neuroanatomical) level, advances in neural-immune communication have been made in the role of discrete brain areas related to emotionality. The immunoenhancement, including the antiviral and antitumor cytotoxic activity, related to the "brain reward system", limbic structures and neocortex, offers a new directions for therapy in immune disorders.[1]


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