Neuro-Immune Circuits Regulate Immune Responses in Tissues and Organ Homeostasis.

Author: Jakob MO1,2, Murugan S2, Klose CSN1
1Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
2Group of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Department of BioMedical Research, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Conference/Journal: Front Immunol.
Date published: 2020 Mar 20
Other: Volume ID: 11 , Pages: 308 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00308. eCollection 2020. , Word Count: 206

The dense innervation of the gastro-intestinal tract with neuronal networks, which are in close proximity to immune cells, implies a pivotal role of neurons in modulating immune functions. Neurons have the ability to directly sense danger signals, adapt immune effector functions and integrate these signals to maintain tissue integrity and host defense strategies. The expression pattern of a large set of immune cells in the intestine characterized by receptors for neurotransmitters and neuropeptides suggest a tight neuronal hierarchical control of immune functions in order to systemically control immune reactions. Compelling evidence implies that targeting neuro-immune interactions is a promising strategy to dampen immune responses in autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases or rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, electric stimulation of vagal fibers has been shown to be an extremely effective treatment strategy against overwhelming immune reactions, even after exhausted conventional treatment strategies. Such findings argue that the nervous system is underestimated coordinator of immune reactions and underline the importance of neuro-immune crosstalk for body homeostasis. Herein, we review neuro-immune interactions with a special focus on disease pathogenesis throughout the gastro-intestinal tract.

Copyright © 2020 Jakob, Murugan and Klose.

KEYWORDS: autonomous nervous system; chronic inflammatory diseases; enteric nervous system (ENS); neuro-immune interactions; tissue homeostasis

PMID: 32265899 PMCID: PMC7099652 DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.00308