About this Research Topic
The immune system has long been associated with the regulation of brain function. It is not surprising that inflammatory conditions are accompanying diseases such as stress-related psychiatric disorders, suggesting that the immune system plays an important role in regulating mood, behavior, and memory performance. The mechanisms underlying the interplay between the immune system and brain function are poorly understood, but interestingly the immune system can regulate the central nervous system not only directly but also indirectly via the periphery. The bidirectional communication between the periphery and the brain is therefore crucial in shaping behaviors and brain circuits, through multiple gateways and signaling pathways such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) secreted proteins, the glymphatic system, the brain blood barrier, the vagus nerve, and the gut-brain axis. Particularly, the immune system is finely regulated by stress and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, but also systemic inflammatory conditions can impact on stress responses and emotional behaviors. Interestingly, metabolic alterations may also be important in this crosstalk, as they are highly associated with stress and inflammatory conditions.
Neuro-immune processes are likely to contribute to various pathologies in both the periphery and the brain, driving complex brain disorders that affect millions of people worldwide. The current understanding of these effects at the cellular and molecular level and how body-brain interactions are regulated from multiple pathways to impact on behavior is yet limited.
We would like to welcome contributions that address novel mechanisms associated with the immune system, inflammation or gut microbiota dysfunction to have an effect on behavior regulating emotions and/or cognitive function, relevant for psychiatric disorders. Particularly, from a multi-organ perspective and not only limited to brain-specific mechanisms, we look forward to studies considering periphery-brain communication, also CSF mediators, or other metabolic disorders.
Keywords: Stress, immune, behavior, emotions, memory
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