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Trends Neurosci. 2007 Dec;30(12):645-52. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Neural-immune interactions in disorders of sleep-wakefulness organization.

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Department of Morphological and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Strada Le Grazie 8, University of Verona, Verona, Italy.


Novel findings on the effects of inflammatory molecules on neuronal circuits, and on molecular interactions between immunity and sleep, in health and disease, shed light on the pathogenesis of disorders of past (encephalitis lethargica) and present concern (human African trypanosomiasis and narcolepsy), which share alterations in sleep-wakefulness transitions. Although these three disorders differ in etiology, synaptic interactions with immune-response-derived molecules could play a pathogenetic role. Knowledge obtained on neural-immune interplay during senescence also has implications for age-related sleep dysregulation, which is common in the elderly population. Altogether, the data indicate that cell groups implicated in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness, circadian timing, and their interactions could be sensitive to synaptic effects of immune molecules.

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