Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Neuroimmunological Attenuation of Proinflammatory Responses

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Science's STKE  30 May 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 34, pp. tw1
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.34.tw1

A delicate balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory responses is critical for host defense and host survival against systemic shock. Borovikova et al. demonstrate that acetylcholine (ACh) can retard the inflammatory response of macrophages. Treatment of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-exposed macrophages decreased the amount of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) secreted into the growth medium. Experiments on LPS-exposed macrophages treated with ACh and incubated with antibodies to TNF revealed that ACh-mediated inhibition of TNF release occurs by suppressing TNF protein synthesis. ACh also blocked the release of several proinflammatory cytokines, the interleukins IL-1β, IL-18, and IL-6 from macrophages, but did not block the release of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. In bilaterally vagotomized rats given a lethal dose of LPS, stimulation of the efferent vagus nerve reduced TNF release compared with that in unstimulated vagotomized rats. These data suggest that the efferent vagus nerve can regulate the levels of circulating TNF in vivo and can influence the response of cellular mediators of the immune response.

Borovikova, L.V., Ivanova, S., Zhang, M., Yang, H., Botchkina, G.I., Watkins, L.R., Wang, H., Abumrad, N., Eaton, J.W., and Tracey, K.J. (2000) Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin. Nature 405: 458-462. [Online Journal]

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