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Immune-Neuroendocrine Interactions: Evolution, Ecology, and Susceptibility to Illness

Johanna M.C. Blom, Enzo Ottaviani

Department of Education and Human Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2017; 23:362-367

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.907637

Available online: 2017-11-16

Published: 2017-11-16


ABSTRACT: The integration between immune and neuroendocrine systems is crucial for maintaining homeostasis from invertebrates to humans. In the first, the phagocytic cell, i.e., the immunocyte, is the main actor, while in the latter, the principle player is the lymphocyte. Immunocytes are characterized by the presence of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) peptides, CRH, and other molecules that display a significant similarity to their mammalian counterparts regarding their functions, as both are mainly involved in fundamental functions such as immune (chemotaxis, phagocytosis, cytotoxicity, etc.) and neuroendocrine (stress) responses. Furthermore, the immune-neuroendocrine system provides vital answers to ecological and immunological demands in terms of economy and efficiency. Finally, susceptibility to disease emerges as the result of a continuous dynamic interaction between the world within and the world outside. New fields such as ecological immunology study the susceptibility to pathogens in an evolutionary perspective while the field of neuro-endocrine-immunology studies the susceptibility from a more immediate perspective.

Keywords: Immune System, Invertebrates, Neuroendocrinology



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