Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 160, Issue 5–6, pp 112–117 | Cite as

The vagal immune reflex: a blessing from above



The innate immune response is activated upon recognition of infection or injury. A tight regulation of this inflammatory response is vital to ensure that it does not spin out of control and becomes harmful to the host. Recently, a neural circuit has been identified that controls the inflammatory response in a reflex-like manner. This circuit involves the vagus nerve which is able to sense inflammation and to respond to it by releasing acetylcholine which, through an interaction with immune cells, dampens the inflammatory response. The current knowledge regarding this "vagal immune reflex" is discussed with an emphasis on its role in sepsis.


Vagus nerve Neuroimmunology Sepsis 

Der vagale Immunreflex


Die angeborene Immunantwort wird bei Erkennen von Infektion oder Verletzung aktiviert. Eine kompakte Regulation dieser inflammatorischen Antwort ist vital, um die Kontrolle nicht zu verlieren und eine Gefahr für den Wirt darzustellen. Kürzlich wurde eine neurale Leitung identifiziert, die die inflammatorische Antwort in einer reflexhaften Art und Weise kontrolliert. Diese Leitung involviert den Vagusnerv, der imstande ist, eine Entzündung wahrzunehmen und durch Abgabe von Aetylcholin zu antworten, wodurch mittels Interaktion mit Immunzellen die Immunantwort gemildert wird. Das derzeitige Wissen bezüglich des "vagalen Immunreflexes" wird mit Betonung der Rolle in der Sepsis diskutiert.


Nervus vagus Neuroimmunologie Sepsis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academic Medical Center, Department of Intensive CareUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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