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Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic relevance of neuro-immune communication: Neural control of inflammation in preclinical and clinical bioelectronic medicine research

New Content ItemEdited by Sangeeta Chavan, Colin Reardon, and Niccolò Terrando

The nervous system and the immune system co-evolved to recognize threats to the host from the environment and initiate responses in order to maintain homeostasis. Both systems are finely tuned to detect changes in host physiology or local environment, mount a protective response, and develop memory leading to learned or adaptive future responses. Recent insights into bidirectional neuro-immune communication have significantly advanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms at the interface between the nervous system and the immune system.

Interactions between neurons and immune cells are multifactorial and multidimensional. Neuronal pathways, including the brain and spinal cord derived neural circuits, and peripheral neural pathways, regulate varied innate and adaptive immune responses and inflammation. Emerging evidence indicates that many neural circuits controlling immune responses are organized by principles of reflex regulation. Neural circuits are able to modulate immune responses by detecting inflammatory mediators and relaying signals back to the immune system.

In parallel, neuronal function is altered in conditions characterized by chronic or non-resolving inflammation. Behavioral consequences of these effects of the immune system on the brain are multifaceted, and include cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, sleep impairment, depression, anxiety, psychomotor slowing, and anorexia. Dysregulated immune responses may originate from an array of pathophysiological conditions (inflammatory conditions, autoimmune diseases, obesity, or aging). 

The elucidation of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the bidirectional communication between the nervous system and immune system have opened up new vistas in the treatment and prevention of inflammatory, autoimmune, and neuropsychiatric disorders. These studies have elucidated the neural circuits and molecular mechanisms that can be controlled by new bioelectronic medicine approaches. Emerging technological and conceptual advances in this evolving field have paved the way for the recent successful clinical trials, exploring bioelectronic neuromodulation in the treatment of inflammatory, autoimmune, and other disorders.

This thematic series calls for submissions exploring the interface between the nervous and immune systems during health and disease with relevance to bioelectronic medicine. It will also cover emerging areas such as the neuronal regulation of innate and adaptive immunity and its therapeutic relevance. It welcomes contributions of any of the following article types: Original Research Article, Perspective, Review, Mini Review, Methodology, Opinion, and covering, but not limited to, the following topics:  

  • neuroimmune mediators in health and disease
  • the gut-brain axis
  • peripheral immunity, inflammation, and infection in the regulation of brain function
  • neural control of innate and adaptive immunity
  • neuroimmune interactions in neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders
  • relevant bioelectronic technological developments

Series keywords: neurostimulation; human machine interface; electrodes; bioelectronic; inflammation; close loop neuromodulation

Articles will undergo the journal’s standard peer-review process and are subject to all of the journal’s standard policies. Articles will be added to the Collection as they are published.

You can submit to this series, here.