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Trends Neurosci. 2013 Nov;36(11):674-84. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.07.003. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Towards a 'systems'-level understanding of the nervous system and its disorders.

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Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA; Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA; Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA; Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


It is becoming clear that nervous system development and adult functioning are highly coupled with other physiological systems. Accordingly, neurological and psychiatric disorders are increasingly being associated with a range of systemic comorbidities including, most prominently, impairments in immunological and bioenergetic parameters as well as in the gut microbiome. Here, we discuss various aspects of the dynamic crosstalk between these systems that underlies nervous system development, homeostasis, and plasticity. We believe a better definition of this underappreciated systems physiology will yield important insights into how nervous system diseases with systemic comorbidities arise and potentially identify novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.


cytokine; enterotype; hypothalamic neurogenesis; immune surveillance; immunoglobulin superfamily; inflammatory reflex; leptin; microbiome; microvesicle; neural stem cell; niche; tolerance

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