Thursday March 21, 2019

Find out how our Immune System is related to Brain Functioning

The scientists found that immune system signalling can directly affect, and even change, social behaviour in mice and other model animals.

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Connection between Brain and Immune System. Image Source: www.deccanchronicle.com
  • The researchers developed and employed a novel systems-biology approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signalling and brain function in health and disease
  • The researchers predicted an unexpected role for interferon gamma (IFN-?), an important substance secreted by immune cells, in promoting social brain functions
  • Restoring of IFN-?-signalling in the brain normalised brain activity and social behaviour

A new research suggests that neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia can be caused by malfunctioning of immune system

Autism: A Neurological Disease. Image Source: www.americanhealthreview.com
Autism: A Neurological Disease. Image Source: www.americanhealthreview.com

“Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches,” said Vladimir Litvak, Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US.

The study was published in the journal Nature.

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The researchers developed and employed a novel systems-biology approach to investigate the complex dialogue between immune signalling and brain function in health and disease.

Immune defence. Image Source: www.huffingtonpost.ca
Immune defence. Image Source: www.huffingtonpost.ca

Using this approach, the scientists found that immune system signalling can directly affect, and even change, social behaviour in mice and other model animals.

The researchers predicated an unexpected role for interferon gamma (IFN-?), an important substance secreted by immune cells, in promoting social brain functions.

In the course of the research, they found that blocking IFN-? in mice made mouse brains become hyperactive and caused atypical social behaviour.

Tridimensional structure of human interferon gamma. Image Source: en.wikipedia.org
Tridimensional structure of human interferon gamma. Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

Restoring of IFN-?-signalling in the brain normalised brain activity and social behaviour.

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“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as a sign of pathology,” said Jonathan Kipnis from the University of Virginia.

“And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behaviour traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” Kipnis explained. (IANS)

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Next Story

Know How Ohio Teenager Defined His Anti-Vaccine Mother, Believing It Caused Autism

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying "My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme ... God knows how I'm still alive," and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

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Lindenberger
Ethan Lindenberger testifies during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines, focusing on preventable disease outbreaks. VOA

An Ohio teenager who defied his anti-vaccine mother and received shots against several dangerous diseases was the star witness at a Senate hearing Tuesday.

Eighteen-year-old Ethan Lindenberger said he did his own research and concluded his mother is wrong in believing vaccines are unsafe and cause autism.

Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019.
Sarah Myriam of New Jersey holds her daughter Aliyah, 2, as they join activists opposed to vaccinations outside a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019. VOA

Lindenberger said his mother’s “love, affection and care are apparent” but said his school in Norwalk, Ohio, saw him as a “health threat” because of the danger he could become sick with a contagious disease.

He testified that his own research convinced him vaccines are safe, but still failed to convince his mother.

Without her approval, Lindenberger got himself inoculated against hepatitis, influenza, tetanus, human papillomavirus, polio, and measles, mumps and rubella.

He said his mother still turns to what he calls “illegitimate sources that instill fear into the public.”

Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines.
Ethan Lindenberger shakes hands with Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., right, before the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 5, 2019, to examine vaccines. VOA

Lindenberger first made headlines late last year when he posted a message on social media saying “My parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme … God knows how I’m still alive,” and asked for guidance on how to protect himself.

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He said thousands of other kids posted similar statements and said he wants youngsters to know that they do not always need their parents’ permission to get vaccinated.

Tuesday’s Senate hearing on vaccines was called, in part, to address an outbreak of measles.

There are 200 known cases in 11 states so far this year with the Pacific Northwest hardest hit. (VOA)