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Research in my labratory is focused on neuroimmune interations termed recently as Neuroimmune Biology (please see the paper in Neuroimmune Biology Vol. 1. 2002: pp 3-45).
Some of the areas we have investigated over the years in this context are: the immunoregulatory role of prolactin, growth hormone and the ACTH - adrenal axis; the possible involvement of prolactin in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis; hormonal modulation of killer cell - induced tumor destruction; the immunoregulatory role of glandular kallikrein and immunity to persistent viral infections.

Presently we maintain a keen interest in the mechanism(s) of action of prolactin in the neuroimmune regulatory network and in glandular kallikrein, especially in tolerance induction.

Our new project is the regulation of allergic reactions by the hypothalamus.

Neuroimmune Biology is a novel scientific discipline, which presents the complex interaction of the nervous, endocrine and immune systems. These three systems form a systemic regulatory network, which is fundamental to the normal development and function of higher animals from conception until death. All physiological and pathophysiological reactions, host defense, recovery from disease and healing depends on this network regulation of bodily function.

Cell proliferation in primary and secondary lymphoid organs depends on the availability of growth hormone (GH) and/or prolactin (PRL). These hormones provide lymphoid cells with competence to respond to other stimuli, such as antigen, adhesion molecules and cytokines. Quiescent lymphocytes rely on GH or PRL, and on insulin-like growth factor-1 for survival. Some steroid hormones, opioid peptides and catecholamines modulate membrane receptor mediated lymphocyte signaling.

Many steroid and thyroid hormones are powerful regulators of lymphocyte signaling at the nuclear level. The active forms of thyroid and many steroid hormones are generated locally by cells within lymphoid tissues. Glucocorticoids are major regulators of cytokine production, and alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone is a cytokine antagonist.

Hormones and neurotransmitters regulate every level of immune activity, including immunocompetence, signal transduction, gene activation, the production and action of cytokines and the activity of immune effector cells. Immune-derived cytokines induce fever and alter neurotransmitter activity in the brain and hormone secretion by the pituitary and other endocrine glands.

In health the neuroimmunoregulatory network is fundamental to host defense against pathogenic organisms/agents, to the transfer of immunity to offspring; it is also important in normal physiology, including intestinal function, tissue regeneration, healing and reproduction. During febrile illness immune-derived cytokines initiate the acute phase response (APR), characterized by fever, inactivity, fatigue, anorexia and catabolism. Acute phase protein production is dramatically increased in the liver, bone marrow function and the metabolic activity of leukocytes are elevated, while specific immune reactions are suppressed. APR is an emergency host defense reaction, which boosts natural immunity by increased cytokine and altered hormone production in cases where the adaptive immune response is not able to control the infectious/noxious insult to the body.

Defects in regulatory processes, which are fundamental to immune and inflammatory diseases may lie in the immune system, the neuroendocrine system or both. Neuroendocrine deficiencies have been identified in autoimmune and rheumatic diseases, chronic inflammatory disease, allergy and asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Neuroimmunobiology holds the promise of treating immune and inflammatory disorders with natural regulatory molecules, such as hormones, cytokines neurotransmitters and neuropeptides and by agents that modulate these newly recognized immunoregulators.

We also have been actively involved in the BOOK SERIES : NEUROIMMUNE BIOLOGY Volumes 1 - 9 Published by Elsevier Science Publications.

This project brought together a number of highly respected and qualified researchers , editors and authors in a vast array of leading edge Life Sciences disciplines . It was an International, multidisciplinary effort relevant to Neuroimmune Biology.

Read More: Neuroimmune Biology Book Series

We have now moved forward with an International, multidisciplinary journal publication entitled: ADVANCES IN NEUROIMMUNE BIOLOGYpublished by IOS Press.

This Journal publishes review articles that deal with a novel and very important area of Biology. The ultimate objective is to understand the integrative regulation of higher organisms in their entire complexity. It has been firmly established already that the Nervous, Endocrine and Immune systems form a regulatory network, a Super-System, which governs all events from conception till death in higher animals and in man, including physiological and pathophysiological processes.

It follows from the above definition that a review journal covering this area of Biomedicine must operate in a “multidisciplinary” fashion. The rapidly accumulating and fragmented information available today is collected, organized and interpreted; the elements, compounds, cells and tissues fit into living organisms and our knowledge of the biology of such higher organisms is being enhanced. The rules of physiological interactions during homeostasis must be understood and also the regulatory interactions in diseases must be followed, which operate during pathophysiological conditions. 

Follow link to learn more............ADVANCES IN NEUROIMMUNE BIOLOGY

Dr Istvan Berczi - An interview with the Man Behind Neuroimmune Biology.