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Nat Immunol. 2004 Jun;5(6):575-81.

Elaborate interactions between the immune and nervous systems.

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  • Department of Neurological Sciences and Neurology and Pediatrics, Interdepartmental Program in Immunology, Beckman Center for Molecular Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA. steinman@stanford.edu

Abstract

The immune system and the nervous system maintain extensive communication, including 'hardwiring' of sympathetic and parasympathetic nerves to lymphoid organs. Neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine, vasoactive intestinal peptide, substance P and histamine modulate immune activity. Neuroendocrine hormones such as corticotropin-releasing factor, leptin and alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone regulate cytokine balance. The immune system modulates brain activity, including body temperature, sleep and feeding behavior. Molecules such as the major histocompatibility complex not only direct T cells to immunogenic molecules held in its cleft but also modulate development of neuronal connections. Neurobiologists and immunologists are exploring common ideas like the synapse to understand properties such as memory that are shared in these two systems.

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PMID:
15164017
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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