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The central nervous system impacts the immune system mainly by regulating the systemic concentration of humoral substances, whereas the peripheral nervous system (PNS) communicates with the immune system specifically according to local "hardwiring" of sympathetic/parasympathetic (efferent) and sensory (afferent) nerves to the primary and secondary lymphoid tissue/organs (e.g., thymus spleen and lymph nodes). In the present study, we use immunofluorescent staining of neurofilament-heavy to reveal the distribution of nerve fibers and the nerve-immune cell neighborhood inside the mouse thymus. Our results demonstrate (a) the presence of an extensive meshwork of nerve fibers in all thymic compartments, including the capsule, subcapsular region, cortex, cortico-medullary junction and medulla; (b) close associations of nerve fibers with blood vessels (including the postcapillary venules), indicating the neural control of blood circulation and immune cell dynamics inside the thymus; (c) the close proximity of nerve fibers to various subsets of thymocytes (e.g., CD4, CD8 and CD4CD8), dendritic cells (e.g., B220, CD4, CD8 and F4/80), macrophages (Mac1 and F4/80) and B cells. Our novel findings concerning thymic innervation and the nerve-immune cell neighborhood in situ should facilitate the understanding of bi-directional communications between the PNS and primary lymphoid organs. Since the innervation of lymphoid organs, including the thymus, may play essential roles in the pathogenesis and progression of some neuroimmune, infectious and autoimmune diseases, better knowledge of PNS-immune system crosstalk should benefit the development of potential therapies for these diseases.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Cell and tissue research
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A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to the lower extremity. The obturator nerve provides motor innervation to the adductor muscles of the thigh and cutaneous sensory innervation of the inner thigh.
A nerve originating in the lumbar spinal cord (usually L2 to L4) and traveling through the lumbar plexus to provide motor innervation to extensors of the thigh and sensory innervation to parts of the thigh, lower leg, and foot, and to the hip and knee joints.
A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord (L4 to S3) and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve, which is the main continuation of the sacral plexus, is the largest nerve in the body. It has two major branches, the TIBIAL NERVE and the PERONEAL NERVE.
The lateral of the two terminal branches of the sciatic nerve. The peroneal (or fibular) nerve provides motor and sensory innervation to parts of the leg and foot.
The 4th cranial nerve. The trochlear nerve carries the motor innervation of the superior oblique muscles of the eye.
Neurology - Central Nervous System (CNS)
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