Nervous System–Immune System Interactions

  • Sonia L. Carlson Watson
  • Dwight M. Nance


It was once believed that the nervous system and immune system were separate and independent systems, each with their own regulatory systems. However, it is now clear that these systems overlap and communicate extensively on a continuous basis, both as a part of normal function and in disease and trauma. It has been clearly shown that these two systems share common receptors and ligands for hormones, neurotransmitters, and cytokines, which forms the basis for this communication. In addition, as discussed here, the central nervous system (CNS) is not exclusively “immunoprivileged,” although it does have the capacity to limit the activation of an inflammatory response under many circumstances.

Interactions Of the Nervous and Immune Systems In the Periphery

Innervation of Lymphoid Tissue

Peripheral lymphoid tissues receive extensive innervation by nerve fibers, particularly from the sympathetic nervous system. Prominent innervation by neuropeptides has also been documented....


Central Nervous System Major Histocompatibility Complex Major Histocompatibility Complex Class Lymphoid Tissue Sympathetic Nervous System 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press, Totowa, NJ 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sonia L. Carlson Watson
    • 1
  • Dwight M. Nance
    • 2
  1. 1.RochesterUSA
  2. 2.Susan Samueli Center for Integrative MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaIrvine, OrangeUSA

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