Mediating Pathways

Underlying the ability of the CNS to affect the immune system is a host of connections between autonomic and neuroendocrine pathways and immune system elements. Immune cells are able to directly respond to brain outflow pathways via receptors for small-molecule neurotransmitters, adrenal and gonadal steroids, hypothalamic-releasing factors, and other neuropeptides (Raison et al.

2002). Specific receptor densities vary among immune cell types, and these variations correlate with cell sensitivity to a given ligand.

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