Fundamentals

Fundamental aspects of brain-immune interactions

Nerve Growth Factor and Inflammation: A Complex Bidirectional Interaction

Nerve Growth Factor and Inflammation: A Complex Bidirectional Interaction

OVERVIEW ARTICLE The nervous and immune systems share common functions: both are involved in adapting the body to the environment and in maintaining homeostasis. Because they are the two major adaptive systems of the body it is not surprising that they have developed common strategies: both are able to sense external and internal variations, which […]

The Glucocorticoid Receptor

The Glucocorticoid Receptor

OVERVIEW ARTICLE Glucocorticoids, steroid hormones secreted from the adrenal cortex, play essential roles in the maintenance of internal homeostasis by influencing virtually all organs and tissues. These diverse actions of glucocorticoids are mediated by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily and functions as a hormone-dependent transcription factor. The human GR […]

Role of the Vagus Nerve at the Neural-Immune Interface

Role of the Vagus Nerve at the Neural-Immune Interface

OVERVIEW ARTICLE Evidence shows that the central nervous system monitors and modulates the activity of both circulating and tissue immune cells via the neuroendocrine system and autonomic nerves. Furthermore, findings over the last decade have demonstrated that the vagus nerve represents an important bi-directional link between the brain and immune system. Afferent vagal pathways transmit […]

Tachykinins, Bone Marrow and Hematopoiesis

Tachykinins, Bone Marrow and Hematopoiesis

OVERVIEW ARTICLE Hematopoiesis is the development of immune and other blood cells from a small population of stem cells known as hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In the embryo, hematopoiesis takes place within the yolk sac, in special tissue called blood islands [1]. Later in development, the spleen, liver, and lymphoid tissues take over this responsibility. […]

Regulation of T Helper Cell Function by Extracellular ATP

Regulation of T Helper Cell Function by Extracellular ATP

OVERVIEW ARTICLE During immune responses a tight balance between proinflammatory and regulatory mechanisms is key in order to restore homeostasis and avoid excessive tissue damage. Among many factors modulating inflammation, extracellular nucleotides have emerged as constitutive signals of cell death alerting the immune system. Due to the ubiquitous expression of receptors for nucleotides and their […]

Autonomic Nervous System Control of Leukocyte Distribution: Physiology and Implications for Common Human Diseases

Autonomic Nervous System Control of Leukocyte Distribution: Physiology and Implications for Common Human Diseases

OVERVIEW ARTICLE Leukocytes are key components of the body’s defense system and the major subsets of leukocytes are granulocytes and lymphocytes. We and others have found that the distribution of these subsets are under the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Of note, granulocytes express adrenergic receptors and the number and proportion of granulocytes increase […]

The Neuroimmune Biology of Vasopressin

The Neuroimmune Biology of Vasopressin

OVERVIEW ARTICLE Vasopressin (VP) has emerged in recent years as a very important immunoregulatory peptide of the hypothalamus. VP is capable of maintaining immune function, both innate and adaptive immunity. This is due to the ability of VP to stimulate both the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and prolactin (PRL) secretion. The HPA axis is important for […]

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