Communication via hormones and cytokines at the brain-immune interface regulates immune functioning as well as central nervous system activity. Cytokines and hormones act both in the central nervous system and in the immune system via shared receptors and signalling pathways. This field has known an enormous growth since the early nineties, with the demonstration of the existence of a brain cytokine compartment and a neuropeptide immune compartment. Studies on the regulation of these compartments have proliferated over the years and clinical implications are beginning to emerge. The first aim of the meeting is to bring together researchers that study hormone and cytokine signalling in the immune system with researchers that study these processes within the central nervous system. The second aim of the meeting is to discuss clinical implications of hormone and cytokine action within the immune system and the brain. The basal knowledge on signalling mechanisms will contribute to the understanding of pathology involving hormone and cytokine signalling.
Ultimately, understanding the signalling pathways used by cytokines and hormones in the two systems is important to develop therapeutic strategies for diseases that are caused by dysfunctions within these regulatory systems and their communication pathways. Sessions will be organised on Cytokines in the brain, Hormone and cytokine signalling in brain and immune system, Hormonal regulation of cytokine production, Cytokines and hormones in chronic inflammation, Central and peripheral cytokines and Steroids and cytokine balance in health and disease. Scientists from the areas of cell biology, immunology, endocrinology, pharmacology, neurology, internal medicine, physiology and behaviour will be brought together in an environment that stimulates discussion and informal interaction. The second conference will be devoted more specifically to the pathophysiological implications of the brain cytokine system. Functional data and clinical data are progressively accumulating in both neuropathology and psychopathology to indicate a crucial role of brain cytokines in the chain of events responsible for the disease process. Sessions will be organized on basic aspects of the expression and action of cytokines in the brain, role of cytokines in neurogenesis and brain development, role of cytokines in non-immune mediated neuropathological disorders, role of cytokines in immune-mediated neuropathologies, and role of cytokines in psychopathology.