Role of Neuroendocrine System in Immunity: A Review

Sharma G. N., Mevada Daxesh K., Baghel Utttam Singh

Abstract: The neuroendocrine systems regulate the number of body function, although the neuroendocrine system also regulates the immune function in body. Neural regulation of the immune system occurs through autonomic nervous system activation and release of hypothalamic and pituitary hormone. Hormones like oxytocin, prolactin, opiods, substance P, ACTH, Somatostatin also regulate the immune system.
The number of research evidences support anatomical and functional role of neuroendocrine system in immune system regulation. The functional significance of neuroendocrinal integration at central and peripheral levels is also well established. In the human immune response generate, depending on the type of antigen, and this information is sent to the brain via cytokine and peptide hormone released from the cells of the immune system. These immunomodulators enter the brain through the circumventrical organs and stimulate the hypothalamic neurons in the medial preoptic area, anterior and ventromedial hypothalamus, Para ventricular nucleus and median eminence / arcuate nucleus. These hypothalamic nuclei then modulate the immune response by activating the autonomic nervous system, the neuroendocrine system, and the cognitive and behavioral correlates of these systems. Evidences show modulation of immune functions by neurohormones. Immune cells can bind various hormones, neurotransmitters, and also neuropeptides. Receptors for corticosteroids, insulin, prolactin, growth hormone, estradiol, testosterone, betaadrenergicagents, acetyl-choline, endorphins­,14 substance P somatostatin, and vasointestinal peptide, have been demonstrated in lymphoid or accessory cells. The nervous and endocrine systems modulate the immune system functions through releasing neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and endocrine hormones as they regulate the other physiological functions. The immune system in turn communicates with the nervous and endocrine systems through secreting immunocompetent substances.

Interaction between neuroendocrine system and immune system

  1. Many immune cells (e.g. lymphocytes) have receptors for neurotransmitters & hormones.

  2. Bain & endocrine cells have receptors for cytokines like interleukin-1 and interleukin-2 secreted by immune cells

  3. Cytokine Functions

    • Cytokines increase secretion of certain endocrine hormones in vivo

    • Low doses of brain encephalin increase several immune system functions, while higher doses can reduce immune function

    • Steroid hormone are inhibit the immune system function

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