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Trends Immunol. 2008 Oct;29(10):455-63. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Immunity and cognition: what do age-related dementia, HIV-dementia and 'chemo-brain' have in common?

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


Until recently, dogma dictated that the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS) live mostly separate, parallel lives, and any interactions between the two were assumed to be limited to extreme cases of pathological insult. It was only a decade ago that T cells in the injured brain were shown to play a protective rather than a destructive role. In this article, we explore the role of the immune system in the healthy brain, focusing on the key function that T lymphocytes have in the regulation of cognition. We discuss candidate mechanisms underlying T cell-mediated control of cognitive function in human cognitive diseases associated with immune decline, such as age- and HIV-related dementias, 'chemo-brain' and others.

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