Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lorimer Mosely posted a series on "neuroimmunology for dummies" or various other names.

In his first "mutterings" Dr Lorimer Moseley on his website, Body in Mind, raises the point that " immune mediators that are upregulated by nociceptive activation have real time effects on the way our brain works." This helps to explain why people with chronic pain might feel they can't think straight.

 Part 1, which follows the introductory post, discusses the immune system and learning and memory -  the role of  T cells and T cells derived IL-4. Lorimer points out that "thinking increases T cells" in particular those T cells which can  produce an anti-inflammatory cytokines. He relates some evidence from experiments and poses an interesting question relating to T cell, inflammation and chronic pain.

Part 2 moves on to the role of inflammatory cytokines in particular IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-a. It seems that
"learning in a fear paradigm increases IL-1 manufacture which  induces an inflammatory-like process, at least in the hippocampus." Interestingly Lorimer says IL-1 can also facilitate learning and critically all of the data on IL-1 involves spatial memory tasks, which are thought to rely on hippocampus function. Without hippocampus function he says dosing with IL-1 has no affect. Further into this post it is indicated that  IL-6 production seems to be associated with improved memory but there is more to this IL-6 (possible implications for surgery?) (Has this anything to do with the Netherland's research in prevention of development of CRPS post surgery). Finally Dr Mosely goes on to talk about prostaglandins which are said to enhance spacial learning. He finally makes the point that the interconnectiveness of all these things and implications is far from simple or straight forward.

Part 3 goes on to discuss the immune system in neuroplasticity. Dr Moseley first discusses some research in this area and then makes the point, "the role of IL-1 is not just limited to the hippocampus and to spatial and related memory formations. IL-1 expression is associated with LTP in the dorsal horn, specifically at spinal nociceptors – the spinal projection of C-fibres". He speculates about a possible role of IL-6 in switching off LTP. He talks about a possible "window of opportunity" time frame for IL-6 to be used to
reduce the likelihood of LTP in the nociceptive system after acute injury, or in the circuits that subserve post traumatic stress syndrome.
This is a fascinating series of posts, most of which I don't pretend to grasp. However what is abundantly clear is that funding is vital to keep our great minds of science working in an enviroment that encourages questioning and embraces a quest for answers. I recommend this series of posts on Body in Mind.


Usiku (oo-SEE-koo) said...

Regarding Part I...And to think, many people find thinking painful and thus avoid it like a polecat. Using our bodies for their intended purpose is to use our organs, systems and tissues for the same purpose. Therefore, it engages our cells so it should be beneficial whether we are aware of it or not we must try to continue to live in accordance with our natural design. All the intricacies of our innerworkings are part of the harmony that has no other course but healing.

jeisea said...

mmm. The old saying, "use it or lose it" might guide us here. Thanks Usiku.

The Tame Lion said...

Wow, that's informative and inspiring!
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the visit. :)

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