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J Neuroimmunol. 2001 Jun 1;116(2):156-67.

Changes with aging in the modulation by neuropeptide Y of murine peritoneal macrophage functions.

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Department of Animal Physiology, Biology Faculty, Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Some age-related changes in immune function may be due, at least in part, to a disturbance in the communication between the nervous and immune systems. In the present work, the effects in vitro of neuropeptide Y (NPY) (10(-13) to 10(-7) M) on different peritoneal macrophage functions (adherence to substrate, chemotaxis, phagocytosis, superoxide anion production, and the release of TNFalpha and IL-1beta) have been studied on cells from young (12+/-2 weeks), adult (24+/-2 weeks), mature (50+/-2 weeks) and old (72+/-2 weeks) BALB/c mice. The specificity of these actions was confirmed using two C-terminal fragments of NPY, and the intracellular messengers (protein kinase C and cAMP) involved in the action of the neuropeptide were also analyzed. The results show that the functions studied change with aging and that the effects of NPY on each function, which are carried out through specific receptors, as well as on intracellular pathway, differ depending on age, maintaining the immune functions at physiologically adequate levels in old animals.

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