Nervous system

Immune system


Microglia, astrocytes, anterior pituitary cells, neurons


Microglia, astrocytes, anterior pituitary cells

Microglia, astrocytes

Microglia, astrocytes Microglia, astrocytes Neurons

TGFa.ß Glial cells, neurons



Glial growth, differentiation, stimulation of somatostatin and corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) production Oligodendroblast proliferation, neurite outgrowth, stimulation of |3-endorphin and ACTH secretion Astrocyte growth, nerve growth factor production, ACTH and growth hormone production

Astrocyte proliferation, stimulation of CRF production

Inhibition of astrocyte proliferation, upregulation of MHC gene expression

Glial cell proliferation, neuron survival and neurotropism

Macrophages, fibroblasts

T cells

T and B cells, macrophages, endothelial cells

Lymphocytes, macrophages

T cells, fibroblasts, macrophages

Macrophages, T cells


T cell activation, leukocyte Chemotaxis

T cell growth factor

T and B cell growth, differentiation, induction of acute phase protein production in liver Mediation of inflammatory reactions, leukocyte Chemotaxis

B cell maturation, macrophage activation

Mediation of inflammatory reactions, control of cell differentiation the cytokines made by glial cells within this system. It is known that astrocytes and microglial cells produce TNFa, which may modulate the expression of class I and class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules on some cell types in the CNS. Although there is no compelling evidence that neurons can be induced to express MHC class II molecules and the density of expression of MHC class I molecules by these cells is so low as to be difficult to measure, microglial cells, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and perhaps other glial cells in the nervous system can express both MHC class I and class II molecules and, therefore, have the potential to act as antigen-presenting cells to lymphocytes attracted into the CNS by cytokines and chemokines (Figure 9).

In a recent series of studies, investigators have demonstrated the production of biologically active IFNy by neurons in both the peripheral and the central nervous system. If confirmed, the production of so-called immune interferon by neurons provides yet another definitive link between the nervous system and the immune system and adds a new aspect to the bidirectional communication between these systems.

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