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Cholinergic control of macrophage activation and functions

Final Activity Report Summary - NERVOUS REGULATION (Cholinergic control of macrophage activation and functions)

Focus of the research was to investigate functional links of the nervous and immune systems, especially on innate immune cells. A general screening of neurotransmitter receptor systems on macrophages from several body compartments is achieved. Initial focus has been the class of cholinergic receptors. At a cellular level it is found that cholinergic agonists generally negatively influence the immune response to pathogens.

I have shown that cholinergic agonists induce a tolerant phenotype in innate immune cells, and increase microbe and particle uptake, whilst reducing inflammatory responses. Expression profiling in mouse and human macrophages has indicated that cholinergic receptor expression varies amongst species. Furthermore, a technical achievement is the generation of several reporter cells systems that allow high throughput study for neurotransmitters that interfere with activation of the NF-kB pathway.