Send to

Choose Destination
Front Neuroendocrinol. 1992 Jan;13(1):61-94.

Immune-neuroendocrine circuits: integrative role of cytokines.

Author information

Department of Research, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland.


Several efficient autoregulatory mechanisms confer a certain degree of autonomy to the immune system. However, increasing evidence shows that immune processes operate in a coordinated fashion with other body systems. In this article, we discuss concepts and facts concerning interactions between immune and neuroendocrine mechanisms. There are clear examples that immune cells can be influenced by hormones, neurotransmitters, and neuropeptides and also by alterations in brain functions. Conversely, immune-derived products such as lymphokines and monokines can affect endocrine, autonomic, and central mechanisms. Neuroendocrine responses occur during the activation of the immune system. These responses can be elicited by innocuous antigens; they can also be detected during pathological conditions involving immune activation, and in many cases are dissociable from the effects of the disease itself and from the stress of being sick. On this basis, we emphasize the multidirectional nature of the communication processes between the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. The role of lymphokines and monokines as messengers able to convey information to neuro and endocrine structures about the present state of activity of the immune system is stressed. The relevance of immune-neuroendocrine interactions for immunoregulation and host defenses is discussed as well as the active role of the immune system in mediating metabolic and homeostatic adjustments or derangements during the course of certain infectious, inflammatory, and neoplastic processes. The evidence available suggests that complex immune-neuroendocrine networks operate under both physiological and pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center