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Nat Rev Neurol. 2019 Jun;15(6):317-328. doi: 10.1038/s41582-019-0174-4.

Immunoneuropsychiatry - novel perspectives on brain disorders.

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Department of Neurology, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.
Inserm, U955, Institut Mondor de la Recherche Biomédicale, Créteil, France.
Fondation FondaMental, Créteil, France.
AP-HP, Department of Psychiatry of Mondor University Hospital, DHU PePsy, University of Paris-Est-Créteil, Créteil, France.
Department of Neurology, University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


Immune processes have a vital role in CNS homeostasis, resilience and brain reserve. Our cognitive and social abilities rely on a highly sensitive and fine-tuned equilibrium of immune responses that involve both innate and adaptive immunity. Autoimmunity, chronic inflammation, infection and psychosocial stress can tip the scales towards disruption of higher-order networks. However, not only classical neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and autoimmune encephalitis, are caused by immune dysregulation that affects CNS function. Recent insight indicates that similar processes are involved in psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder and depression. Pathways that are common to these disorders include microglial activation, pro-inflammatory cytokines, molecular mimicry, anti-neuronal autoantibodies, self-reactive T cells and disturbance of the blood-brain barrier. These discoveries challenge our traditional classification of neurological and psychiatric diseases. New clinical paths are required to identify subgroups of neuropsychiatric disorders that are phenotypically distinct but pathogenically related and to pave the way for mechanism-based immune treatments. Combined expertise from neurologists and psychiatrists will foster translation of these paths into clinical practice. The aim of this Review is to highlight outstanding findings that have transformed our understanding of neuropsychiatric diseases and to suggest new diagnostic and therapeutic criteria for the emerging field of immunoneuropsychiatry.


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