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Published August 16, 1994 | Published
Journal Article Open

Leukemia inhibitory factor, a cytokine at the interface between neurobiology and immunology


The growing appreciation of the active interface between the immune system and the nervous system includes recognition of the cell surface molecules and the transducing mechanisms that are shared between the two systems. Perhaps even more compelling is the identification of intercellular messengers that mediate active signaling between the two systems. Neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, well known for their role in the communication between neurons, are also capable of activating monocytes and macrophages and inducing chemotaxis in immune cells. Transmitters and neuropeptides released by local neuronal processes are, therefore, well suited for mediating the ability of neurons to participate in inflammatory reactions at sites of injury or infection, as discussed below. In addition, immune tissues such as the spleen and lymph nodes are innervated, and pharmacological manipulations indicate that transmitters and neuropeptides are likely to regulate immune functions (1, 2).

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Copyright © 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences.

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