Aspects on the integrative actions of the brain from neural networks to "brain-body medicine".

Author: Agnati LF, Guidolin D, Guescini M, Battistin L, Stocchi V, De Caro R, Genedani S, Fuxe K.
IRCCS San Camillo, Lido Venezia, Italy.
Conference/Journal: J Recept Signal Transduct Res.
Date published: 2012 Aug
Other: Volume ID: 32 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 163-80 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3109/10799893.2012.687748 , Word Count: 302

"Integration" is a key term in describing how nervous system can perform high level functions. A first condition to have "integration" is obviously the presence of efficient "communication processes" among the parts that have to be combined into the harmonious whole. In this respect, two types of communication processes, called wiring transmission (WT) and volume transmission (VT), respectively, were found to play a major role in the nervous system, allowing the exchange of signals not only between neurons, but rather among all cell types present in the central nervous system (CNS). A second fundamental aspect of a communication process is obviously the recognition/decoding process at target level. As far as this point is concerned, increasing evidence emphasizes the importance of supramolecular complexes of receptors (the so called receptor mosaics) generated by direct receptor-receptor interactions. Their assemblage would allow a first integration of the incoming information already at the plasma membrane level. Recently, evidence of two new subtypes of WT and VT has been obtained, namely the tunnelling nanotubes mediated WT and the microvesicle (in particular exosomes) mediated VT allowing the horizontal transfer of bioactive molecules, including receptors, RNAs and micro-RNAs. The physiological and pathological implications of these types of communication have opened up a new field that is largely still unexplored. In fact, likely unsuspected integrative actions of the nervous system could occur. In this context, a holistic approach to the brain-body complex as an indissoluble system has been proposed. Thus, the hypothesis has been introduced on the existence of a brain-body integrative structure formed by the "area postrema/nucleus tractus solitarius" (AP/NTS) and the "anteroventral third ventricle region/basal hypothalamus with the median eminence" (AV3V-BH). These highly interconnected regions operate as specialized interfaces between the brain and the body integrating brain-borne and body-borne neural and humoral signals.
PMID: 22620712