The expression of neural regulatory molecules by immune cells that infiltrate the nervous system upon injury may be a mechanism for cross-regulation between the nervous system and the immune system. Several lines of evidence implicate nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling through its receptors (TrkA and p75 NGFR) as a potential source of communication between the two systems. We observed changes in NGF mRNA expression and protein secretion by T lymphocytes polarized toward the Th2 phenotype. The presence of NGF did not affect T cell proliferation or cytokine production in vitro. Mice treated with NGF by i.p. injection following induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, showed a delayed onset of disease and lower clinical scores during the course of disease. These data suggest a role for NGF signaling in the regulation of the immune response, possibly by enhancing sympathetic innervation of lymphoid tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-633
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001


  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Neuroimmunology


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