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FASEB J. 2001 Jul;15(9):1575-6.

Mind over immunity.

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Laboratory of Biomedical Science, North Shore University Hospital, New York University, Manhasset, New York 11030, USA.


The central nervous system regulates the innate immune system by elaborating anti-inflammatory hormone cascades in response to bacterial products and immune mediators. We recently discovered that the central nervous system also responds via acetylcholine-mediated efferent signals carried through the vagus nerve. Nicotinic cholinergic receptors expressed on macrophages detect these signals and respond with a dampened cytokine response. Vagus nerve stimulators can mimic this response and can prevent lethal endotoxemia. This newly appreciated cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway provides a neural substrate to study brain-immune interactions and might be harnessed for therapy of cytokine-mediated disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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