From head to tail it's a 2 way street for neuro-immune communication

Anderson, A. and Mcmullan, R. (2014). From head to tail it's a 2 way street for neuro-immune communication. Worm, 3(3), article no. e959425.



Animals need to be able to rapidly and effectively respond to changes in their external and internal environment. To achieve this the nervous and immune systems need to coordinate their responses, integrating multiple cues including presence of potential pathogens, and availability of food. In our recent study we demonstrate that signaling by sensory neurons in the head using the classical neurotransmitter serotonin can negatively regulate the rectal epithelial immune response upon infection of C. elegans with the naturally occurring bacterial pathogen Microbacterium nematophilum (M. nematophilum). The complicated nature of the mammalian brain and immune system has made it difficult to identify the molecular mechanisms mediating these interactions. With its simple, well described, nervous system and a rapidly growing understanding of its immune system, C. elegans has emerged as an excellent model to study the mechanisms by which animals recognize pathogens and coordinate behavioral and cellular immune responses to infection.

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