The neuronal and immune systems exhibit bidirectional interactions that play a critical role in tissue homeostasis, infection, and inflammation. Neuron-derived neuropeptides and neurotransmitters regulate immune cell functions, whereas inflammatory mediators produced by immune cells enhance neuronal activation. In recent years, accumulating evidence suggests that peripheral neurons and immune cells are colocalized and affect each other in local tissues. A variety of cytokines, inflammatory mediators, neuropeptides, and neurotransmitters appear to facilitate this crosstalk and positive-feedback loops between multiple types of immune cells and the central, peripheral, sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric nervous systems. In this Review, we discuss these recent findings regarding neuro-immune crosstalk that are uncovering molecular mechanisms that regulate inflammation. Finally, neuro-immune crosstalk has a key role in the pathophysiology of allergic diseases, and we present evidence indicating that neuro-immune interactions regulate asthma pathophysiology through both direct and indirect mechanisms.
Hiroki Kabata, David Artis