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NEUROSCIENCIE IN IMMUNOLOGY
Abstract
The field of immunology is principally focused on the molecular mechanisms by which hematopoietic
cells initiate and maintain innate and adaptive immunity. That cornerstone of attention has been expanded by recent discoveries that neuronal signals occupy a critical regulatory niche in immunity. The discovery is that neuronal circuits operating reflexively regulate innate and adaptive immunity. One particularly well-characterized circuit regulating innate immunity, the inflammatory reflex, is dependent upon action potentials transmitted to the reticuloendothelial system via the vagus and splenic nerves. This field has grown significantly with identification of several other reflexes regulating discrete immune functions. As reviewed here, the delineation of these mechanisms revealed a new understanding of immunity, enabled a first in class clinical trial using bioelectronic devices to inhibit cytokines and inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients, and provided a mosaic view of immunity as the integration of hematopoietic and neural responses to infection and injury.

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