The emergence of neurotransmitters as immune modulators

Rafael Franco, Rodrigo Pacheco, Carmen Lluis, Gerard P. Ahern, Peta J. O'Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Initially, the idea that neurotransmitters could serve as immunomodulators emerged with the discovery that their release and diffusion from nervous tissue could lead to signaling through lymphocyte cell-surface receptors and the modulation of immune function. It is now evident that neurotransmitters can also be released from leukocytes and act as autocrine or paracrine modulators. Here, we review the data indicating that leukocytes synthesize and release 'neurotransmitters' and we also discuss the diverse effects that these compounds exert in a variety of immune cells. The role of neurotransmitters in immune-related diseases is also reviewed succinctly. Current and future developments in understanding the cross-talk between the immune and nervous systems will probably identify new avenues for treating immune-mediated diseases using agonists or antagonists of neurotransmitter receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-407
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Immunology
Volume28
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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