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Immunity. 2009 Nov 20;31(5):705-10. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.09.009.

Immune and nervous systems: more than just a superficial similarity?

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Division of Molecular Immunology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London NW7 1AA, UK.


Strong evidence is emerging that the nervous and immune systems share mechanisms of gene regulation, signaling, cell communication, and supracellular organization. This brings to the fore many questions, not least of which is the developmental and evolutionary origin of the commonalities between the two systems. By providing answers to these questions, immunologists and neurobiologists increasingly expose the mechanistic and conceptual affinities of their respective fields and facilitate the understanding of fundamental principles that govern the organization of complex cellular systems. The current essay and reviews in Immunity and Neuron attempt to communicate to the wider scientific community a series of examples relating to commonalities between the immune and nervous system and enhance the dialog and exchange of ideas between the two fields.

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