The Interplay between Autonomic Nervous System and Inflammation across Systemic Autoimmune Diseases

Author: Chiara Bellocchi1,2, Angelica Carandina1,2, Beatrice Montinaro1, Elena Targetti1, Ludovico Furlan1,2, Gabriel Dias Rodrigues2,3, Eleonora Tobaldini1,2, Nicola Montano1,2
1 Department of Internal Medicine, Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy.
2 Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy.
3 Laboratory of Experimental and Applied Exercise Physiology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Fluminense Federal University, Niterói 24210-130, Brazil.
Conference/Journal: Int J Mol Sci
Date published: 2022 Feb 23
Other: Volume ID: 23 , Issue ID: 5 , Pages: 2449 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/ijms23052449. , Word Count: 147

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the immune system are deeply interrelated. The ANS regulates both innate and adaptive immunity through the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches, and an imbalance in this system can determine an altered inflammatory response as typically observed in chronic conditions such as systemic autoimmune diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and systemic sclerosis all show a dysfunction of the ANS that is mutually related to the increase in inflammation and cardiovascular risk. Moreover, an interaction between ANS and the gut microbiota has direct effects on inflammation homeostasis. Recently vagal stimulation techniques have emerged as an unprecedented possibility to reduce ANS dysfunction, especially in chronic diseases characterized by pain and a decreased quality of life as well as in chronic inflammation.

Keywords: adaptive immunity; autonomic nervous system; gut microbiota; inflammation; inflammatory reflex; innate immunity; parasympathetic system; sympathetic system; systemic autoimmune diseases.

PMID: 35269591 DOI: 10.3390/ijms23052449