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J Leukoc Biol. 2006 Jun;79(6):1093-104. Epub 2006 Mar 10.

It takes nerve to tell T and B cells what to do.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology, and Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The existence of an association between the brain and immunity has been documented. Data show that the nervous and immune systems communicate with one another to maintain immune homeostasis. Activated immune cells secrete cytokines that influence central nervous system activity, which in turn, activates output through the peripheral nervous system to regulate the level of immune cell activity and the subsequent magnitude of an immune response. In this review, we will focus our presentation and discussion on the findings that indicate a regulatory role for the peripheral sympathetic nervous system in modulating the level of cytokine and antibody produced during an immune response. Data will be discussed from studies involving the stimulation of the beta2 adrenergic receptor expressed on CD4+ T cells and B cells by norepinephrine or selective agonists. We will also discuss how dysregulation of this line of communication between the nervous and immune systems might contribute to disease development and progression.

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