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Am J Transplant. 2015 Jun;15(6):1472-4. doi: 10.1111/ajt.13158. Epub 2015 Apr 6.

Clinical implications of basic science discoveries: nociceptive neurons as targets to control immunity--potential relevance for transplantation.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
McGowan Center for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.
T. E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.


Increasing evidence indicates the existence of a complex cross-regulation between the most important biosensors of the human body: The immune and nervous systems. Cytokines control body temperature and trigger autoimmune disorders in the central nervous system, whereas neuropeptides released in peripheral tissues and lymphoid organs modulate inflammatory (innate) and adaptive immune responses. Surprisingly, the effects of nerve fibers and the antidromic release of its pro-inflammatory neuropeptides on the leukocytes of the immune system that mediate graft rejection are practically unknown. In the transplantation field, such area of research remains practically unexplored. A recent study by Riol-Blanco et al has revealed new details on how nociceptive nerves regulate the pro-inflammatory function of leukocytes in peripheral tissues. Although the mechanism(s) by which neuroinflammation affects the immune response against the allograft remains unknown, recent data suggest that this new area of research is worth exploring for potential development of novel complementary therapies for prevention/treatment of graft rejection.


Editorial; immune regulation; immunobiology; innate immunity; neurology; organ transplantation in general; personal viewpoint

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