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Year : 1998  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 129-140

Neuroendocrine modulation of immune system



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According to recent findings, the immune system and brain speak a common biochemical language. Cytokines, peptide hormones and neurotransmitters, and their receptors are endogenous to the brain, endocrine and immune system. Cells of the immune system can regulate the brain and endocrine system through the actions of the cytokines on receptors in the brain and through the synthesis of peptide hormones. Neural regulation of the immune system occurs through autonomic nervous system activation and the release of hypothalamic and pituitary hormones. Complex neuroendocrine immune system interactions occur between the thymus gland and the gonadal hormones and between cytokines and corticosteroid hormones. The corticosteroids appear to provide negative feedback to inhibit the release of IL-1 and suppress immune system activity, thus preventing some autoimmune diseases. Opioid peptides, substance P, somatostatin and other neuropeptides also regulate the activity of immune system. Neuroendocrine immune system interactions are mediated through the hypothalamus and the paraventricular nucleus appears to play a central role in the integration of these three systems. The integration of neural, endocrine and immune system activity may occur through common receptors and second messenger system.






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