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Encyclopedia > Neuroimmunology
It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with psychoneuroimmunology. (Discuss)

Neuroimmunology is a growing branch of biomedical science that studies of all aspects of the interactions between the immune system and nervous system. It deals with, among other things, the physiological functioning of the neuroimmune system in states of both health and disease; malfunctions of the neuroimmune system in disorders (autoimmune diseases, hypersensitivities, immune deficiency), the physical, chemical and physiological characteristics of the components of the neuroimmune system in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Psychoneuroimunology is the science of studing the connection between body and soul and its influence on the immunal and hormonal systems of the body. ... Health science is the discipline of applied science which deals with human and animal health. ... The Immune System (also known as the Immunlological System) is made up of all the mechanisms through which a multicellular organism defends itself from internal invaders such as bacteria, virus or parasites. ... The nervous system of an animal coordinates the activity of the muscles, monitors the organs, constructs and also stops input from the senses, and initiates actions. ... Physiology (in Greek physis = nature and logos = word) is the study of the mechanical, physical, and biochemical functions of living organisms. ... Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. ... Hypersensitivity is an immune response that damages the bodys own tissues. ... In medicine, immune deficiency (or immunodeficiency) is a state where the immune system is incapable of defending the organism from infectious disease. ... Wiktionary has a definition of: In vitro In vitro (Latin: within glass) means within a test tube, or, more generally, outside a living organism or cell. ... In situ (in place in Latin), a term used in: biology, where it means to examine the phenomenon exactly in place where it occurs (without removing it in some special medium etc. ... In vivo (Latin for (with)in the living). ...



From the US National Institute of Health[1]: "Despite the brain's status as an immune privileged site, an extensive bi-directional communication takes place between the nervous and the immune system in both health and disease. Immune cells and neuroimmune molecules such as cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors modulate brain function through multiple signaling pathways throughout the lifespan. Immunological, physiological and psychological stressors engage cytokines and other immune molecules as mediators of interactions with neuroendocrine, neuropeptide, and neurotransmitter systems. For example, brain cytokine levels increase following stress exposure, while treatments designed to alleviate stress reverse this effect.

"Neuroinflammation and neuroimmune activation have been shown to play a role in the etiology of a variety of neurological disorders such stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, pain, and AIDS-associated dementia. However, cytokines and chemokines also modulate CNS function in the absence of overt immunological, physiological, or psychological challenges. For example, cytokines and cytokine receptor inhibitors affect cognitive and emotional processes. Recent evidence suggests that immune molecules modulate brain systems differently across the lifespan. Cytokines and chemokines regulate neurotrophins and other molecules critical to neurodevelopmental processes, and exposure to certain neuroimmune challenges early in life affects brain development. In adults, cytokines and chemokines affect synaptic plasticity and other ongoing neural processes, which may change in aging brains. Finally, interactions of immune molecules with the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal system indicate that sex differences are a significant factor determining the impact of neuroimmune influences on brain function and behavior." Cytokines is a group of proteinaceous signalling compounds that like hormones and neurotransmitters are used extensively for inter-cell communication. ... Chemokines are a family of pro-inflammatory activation-inducible cytokines, or small protein signals secreted by cells. ...


In 1974 Robert Ader discovered that the immune system of rats can be conditioned to respond to external stimuli unrelated to immune function. Ader was investigating how long conditioned responses (in the sense of Pavlov's conditioning of dogs to drool when they heard a bell ring) might last in laboratory rats. To condition the rats, he used a combination of saccharine-laced water and the drug Cytoxan which induces nausea and suppresses the immune system. Ader was surprised to discover that after conditioning, just feeding the rats saccharine-lased water was sufficient to suppress the immune system of the rats. In other words, a signal via the nervous system (taste) was effecting immune function. This was one of the first scientific experiments that demonstrated that the nervous system can affect the immune system. Ader coined the phrase Psychoneuroimmunology and wrote the two-volume book Psychoneuroimmunology along with David L. Felten and Nicholas Cohen[2].

In 1981 David Fenton, then working at the Indiana University of Medicine, discovered a network of nerves leading to blood vessels as well as cells of the immune system. The researchers also found nerves in the thymus and spleen terminating near clusters of lymphocytes, macrophages and mast cells, all of which help control immune function. This discovery provided one of the first indications of how neuro-immune interaction occurs. In human anatomy, the thymus is a ductless gland located in the upper anterior portion of the chest cavity. ... The spleen is a ductless, vertebrate gland that is not necessary for life but is closely associated with the circulatory system, where it functions in the destruction of old red blood cells in holding a reservoir of blood. ... Lymphocyte (stained) A lymphocyte is a type of white blood cell involved in the human bodys immune system. ... A macrophage of a mouse stretching its arms to engulf two particles, possibly pathogens Macrophages (Greek: big eaters, makros = long, phagein = eat) are white blood cells, more specifically phagocytes, acting in the nonspecific defense as well as the specific defense system of vertebrate animals. ... Mast cells A mast cell (or mastocyte) is a resident cell of connective tissue that contains many granules rich in histamine and heparin. ...

External links

  • Neuroimmunology, The Medical School, Birmingham University - Dr Abid Karim
  • Online Resources Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuroimmunomodulation

Areas of study

See also

By definition the neuroimmune system is comprised of the immune system and those components of the nervous system that modulate immune response. ... The Immune System (also known as the Immunlological System) is made up of all the mechanisms through which a multicellular organism defends itself from internal invaders such as bacteria, virus or parasites. ... Immunology is a broad branch of biomedical science that covers the study of all aspects of the immune system in all organisms. ... Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...

Further reading

  • Berczi and Szentivanyi (2003) NeuroImmune Biology, Elsevier, ISBN 0-444-50851-1 (Written for the highly technical reader)
  • Mind-Body Medicine: An Overview, US National Institutes of Health, Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • #  Robert Ader, David L. Felten, Nicholas Cohen , Psychoneuroimmunology, 3rd edition, 2 volumes, Academic Press, (2001) , ISBN 0-12-044314-7
  • Goodkin, Karl, and Adriaan P. Visser, (eds), Psychoneuroimmunology: Stress, Mental Disorders , and Health, American Psychiatric Press, 2000, ISBN 0-88048-171-4, technical.
  • Ransohoff, Richard, et al (eds), Universes in Delicate Balance: Chemokines and the Nervous System, Elsevier, 2002, ISBN 044430028
  • Sternberg (2001) The Balance Within, The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, Freeman, ISBN 0-7167-4445-7 (Written for the general public)


  1.   Functional Links between the Immune System, Brain Function and Behavior

  Results from FactBites:
Neuroimmunology - Department of Neuroscience - College of Medicine & Public Health - The Ohio State University (294 words)
The area of neuroimmunology within the Neuroscience Program is a primary focus in several laboratories using a variety of model systems.
The largest of the research groups focuses on the interactions among the central nervous system, endocrine, and immune systems, and how a variety of stressors modulates these systems and has an impact on health.
The hypothesis for these studies is that both intrinsic CNS inflammatory cells (microglia) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (monocytes/macrophages, lymphocytes) are involved in the initiation of cytotoxic cascades which contribute to the production of CNS white matter lesions.
Further particulars: Professorship of Neuroimmunology (3759 words)
Neuroimmunology is already strong with focus on the antibody-mediated diseases, e.g.
The Professor of Neuroimmunology will be expected to play a major leadership role in the research activity of the department, to undertake original work and the general supervision of research and advanced work in the department.
The Professor of Neuroimmunology will be expected to play a role in medical student (both standard course and graduate entry course) teaching, either on the wards or in the laboratory.
  More results at FactBites »



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