Neural regulation of immunity
Professor Scott Mueller
+61 3 8344 9044
Tissues are innervated by fibres of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which release SNS neurotransmitters during stress. SNS neurotransmitters bind to adrenoceptors (ARs) on multiple cell types to induce genomic and functional changes. Studies have shown that immunity is compromised during times of stress raising the possibility that SNS signalling impairs immune cell functions. However, little is known about the mechanisms of SNS neurotransmitter signalling on the cells of the immune system. We have discovered that neural signalling can inhibit the migration of immune cells within tissues and impact protective immunity against infections and cancer. We are investigating how neural signals impact immune responses in order to design new therapies to treat disease.
Figure 1: High resolution confocal microscopy image of sympathetic nerves (Tyrosine hydroxylase, green) in the spleen.
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