Immune Molecule IL-17 Affects Mind and Body, Study Suggests

Dec, 2020 - By WMR

Immune Molecule IL-17 Affects Mind and Body, Study Suggests

According to a new research study initiated by the researchers of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have highlighted about unanticipated body and mind connection. The researchers involving a mice model have found that immune cells adjoining to the brain generate a molecule, which is absorbed by the neurons in the brain and it is vital for normal behavior.

Jonathan Kipnis, senior author stated, “The brain and the body are not as separate as people think. What we've found here is that an immune molecule IL-17 is produced by immune cells residing in areas around the brain, and it could affect brain function through interactions with neurons to influence anxiety-like behaviors in mice. We are now looking into whether too much or too little of IL-17 could be linked to anxiety in people.”

In this study, researchers by utilizing mice, observed that the meninges are rich in gamma-delta T cells and in normal conditions, meninges continually generate IL-17, filling the tissues adjacent to the brain with IL-17. In order to define whether gamma-delta T cells or IL-17 affects behavior, researchers made mice to go through established tests of memory, foraging, social behavior, and anxiety. Researchers observed that mice that lacked IL-17 were identical to mice with normal immune systems on all events, however some notable changes were observed in case of anxiety.

Researchers found that when mice were exposed to predators such as owls and hawks, these mice developed a fear of open spaces. Furthermore, researchers piloted two distinct tests that involved providing mice the decision of entering into the exposed areas. They found that the mice with normal gamma-delta T cells and levels of IL-17 kept themselves mostly to the more protective and enclosed areas, whereas, mice without IL-17 attempted into the open areas, where researchers inferred as decreased anxiety.

Researchers concluded that these findings propose that changes in behavior are an integral part of neuro-immune communication.

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