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Studies show that the immune system affects the mind and body



Chicago, September 14 (Xinhua)-A study at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine found that elements of the immune system affect both the mind and body, with the immune molecule IL-17.

IL-17 is a cytokine, a signaling molecule that regulates the immune response to infection by activating and inducing immune cells. IL-17 is also associated with autism and depression in people in animal studies.

According to, it is a mystery how immune molecules like IL-17 affect brain damage. This is because the brain has few immune systems and the few immune cells there do not produce IL-17. researcher.

When researchers notice that the tissues surrounding the brain are flooded with immune cells, especially a small population called IL-17-producing gamma delta T cells, gamma delta T cells near the brain go into action. Impact.

Using mice, they are rich in gamma delta T cells in the meninges, which continuously produce IL-17 under normal conditions and the tissues surrounding the brain in IL-17. I found that it meets.

To determine if gamma delta T cells or IL-17 affect behavior, researchers conducted established tests of memory, social behavior, foraging, and anxiety in mice. The researchers conducted two separate tests, including giving mice the option to enter the exposed area. Mice with normal amounts of gamma delta T cells and IL-17 levels kept themselves in an area surrounded by mostly protective edges during testing, but mice lacking gamma delta T cells or IL-17. Challenged the open area, but the course of caution that researchers interpreted as a reduction in anxiety.

In addition, researchers have discovered that neurons in the brain have receptors on their surface that respond to IL-17. Mice’ alertness was reduced when neurons removed their receptors so that they could not detect the presence of IL-17. The findings suggest that behavioral changes are not a by-product, but an integral part of neuroimmune communication.

The researchers did not expose the mice directly to bacteria or viruses to study the effects of the infection, but injected the animals with lipopolysaccharide, a bacterial product that elicits a strong immune response. Gamma delta T cells in the tissue around the mouse brain produced more IL-17 in response to the injection. However, antibiotic treatment of animals reduces the amount of IL-17, suggesting that gamma delta T cells can detect the presence of normal bacteria such as the bacteria that make up the intestinal microbiome and the invading bacterial species. , Respond appropriately to regulate behavior.

“The immune system and brain are probably co-evolving,” said lead author and postdoctoral researcher Karil Alves de Lima. “Choosing special molecules to protect us immunologically and behaviorally is a wise way to protect us from infection. This is basically a cytokine that has evolved to fight pathogens. It’s a good example of how it acts on the brain and regulates behavior. “

Researchers are studying how gamma delta T cells in the meninges detect bacterial signals from other parts of the body. They are also investigating how IL-17 signaling in neurons is transformed into behavioral changes.

The findings will be published in Nature Immunology on Monday.


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