Influence of brain and behavior on the immune system

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Science  06 Feb 1976:
Vol. 191, Issue 4226, pp. 435-440
DOI: 10.1126/science.1108202


It has been shown experimentally that psychosocial processes influence the susceptibility to some infections, to some neoplastic processes, and to some aspects of humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. These psychosocial effects may be related to hypothalamic activity. Reviewing the mechanisms that may be involved in the role of the hypothalamus in immune responses indicates that there is no single mediating factor. Various processes may participate, including the autonomic nervous system and neuroendocrine activity. The research reviewed has been limited primarily to a consideration of the effect of hypothalamic lesions on humoral immune responses. There is some evidence (45, 80) indicating that hypothalamic lesions also modify cell-mediated immune responses. Further research is required to evaluate the effect of the hypothalamus on cell-mediated immunity.