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(Neuro)Transmitter Systems in Circulating Immune Cells: A Target of Immunopharmacological Interventions?

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Increasing evidence indicates the existence of an association between nervous and immune systems. The two systems communicate with each-other to maintain immune homeostasis. Activated immune cells secrete cytokines that influence central nervous system activity. Nervous system, through its peripheral and/or autonomic divisions activates output regulating levels of immune cell activity and the subsequent magnitude of an immune response. On the other hand, neurotransmitters, which represent the main substances involved in nerve cell communications, can influence immune function. Immune organs and circulating immune cells express several (neuro)transmitter systems that can be involved in regulating their activity. The expression of neurotransmitter systems by different subsets of circulating immune cells was reviewed. The regulatory role of different families of (neuro)transmitters (catecholamines, 5-hydroxytryptamine, acetylcholine, histamine and neuropeptides) in modulating levels of immune mediators or specific immune responses is discussed.

Keywords: (Neuro)Transmitter Systems; Immune Cells; Immunopharmacological Interventions; cytokines; histamine; homeostasis; immune mediators; neuropeptides

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of experimental Medicine and Public Health, Via Madonna delle Carceri, 9, 62032 Camerino (MC), Italy.

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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