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Neuro-Immune Crosstalk

The CNS was considered for many years to be an immune-privileged site      a region of the body that is impervious to components of the immune response. However, it is now clear that inflammatory immune responses can occur in the CNS. Inflammation is observed during psychological stress, highlighting the cross-talk between neurological, endocrine, and immune systems.
Immune responses in the CNS involve not only activation of resident cells (including microglial cells, astrocytes, and endothelial cells), but also infiltration of circulating immune cells (including monocytes, neutrophils, and T cells). As in the periphery, both the activated resident cells and the infiltrating cells express, release, and/or respond to cytokines, which function in the CNS as both regulators of immunity and modulators of neuronal and glial function. Thus, cytokines are not simply immune, but rather neuro-immune modulators.

Reciprocally, the nervous system, through its peripheral and/or autonomic divisions, regulates immune cells and the magnitude of an immune response via the effects of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, nor-epinephrine, dopamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, acetylcholine, histamine and neuropeptides. Immune organs and circulating immune cells express several neurotransmitter receptors that can regulate their activity.
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