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J Neuroimmunol. 2015 Dec 15;289:152-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.11.001. Epub 2015 Nov 3.

Oxytocin-secreting system: A major part of the neuroendocrine center regulating immunologic activity.

Author information

1
School of Basic Medical Sciences, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150086, China.
2
The Fourth Affiliated Hospital, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150001, China.
3
Department of Surgery, Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY 12208, USA.
4
School of Basic Medical Sciences, Harbin Medical University, Harbin 150086, China. Electronic address: yufengwang@ems.hrbmu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Interactions between the nervous system and immune system have been studied extensively. However, the mechanisms underlying the neural regulation of immune activity, particularly the neuroendocrine regulation of immunologic functions, remain elusive. In this review, we provide a comprehensive examination of current evidence on interactions between the immune system and hypothalamic oxytocin-secreting system. We highlight the fact that oxytocin may have significant effects in the body, beyond its classical functions in lactation and parturition. Similar to the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis, the oxytocin-secreting system closely interacts with classical immune system, integrating both neurochemical and immunologic signals in the central nervous system and in turn affects immunologic defense, homeostasis, and surveillance. Lastly, this review explores therapeutic potentials of oxytocin in treating immunologic disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Behavior; Cytokine; Hormone; Hypothalamus; Neuroendocrinoimmunology; Oxytocin; Paraventricular nucleus; Supraoptic nucleus; Thymus

PMID:
26616885
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.11.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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