Neuropeptide Receptors Are Shared Components of Nervous and Immune Systems

  • Michael R. Ruff
  • Paola Sacerdote
  • Christian J. Wiedermann
  • Candace B. Pert
Part of the Hans Selye Symposia on Neuroendocrinology and Stress book series (HANS SELYE SYMP)


Within the past several years, it has become apparent that numerous distinct neuropeptides are capable of modulating immune function, as demonstrated by both in vitro and in vivo systems. The significance of this realization lies in the known abilities of neuropeptides to alter central nervous system (CNS) activity, including memory, learning, perception, mood and behavior. Experiments which introduced neuropeptides into select brain areas, or electrically stimulated their release within brain regions (e.g., the amygdala) thought to be involved in emotions, strongly support a role for neuropeptides as biochemical substrates mediating emotions1. Because receptors for these ligands, as well as neuropeptide synthesis can now be considered to be general features of immunocyte cell biology1–7, we have envisioned neuropeptidergic components as a major intercellular communication pathway which provides a mechanism for interactions between brain, endocrine and immune systems. The purpose of such an interconnected conglomeration of cells, extending throughout the brain and body, is the integration of the regulatory effects of these ligands on their target cells within the context of organismal homeostasis. We have termed this communication system a “psychosomatic network” to emphasize the influence of higher cortical processes (the psyche, or mind), exerted through neuropeptides, on the body1.


Opiate Receptor Human Peripheral Blood Monocyte Select Brain Area Disuccinimidyl Suberate High Cortical Process 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Ruff
  • Paola Sacerdote
  • Christian J. Wiedermann
  • Candace B. Pert

There are no affiliations available

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