Neuropeptides and Immunity Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Our studies have clearly shown that neuropeptides have a profound effect on immunoglobulin synthesis both in vivo and in vitro. The effects varied according to the neuropeptide added or the tissue from which the lymphocytes were obtained. Substance P caused the most pronounced enhancement of both functions, especially in Peyer's patch cells, where it selectively increased IgA synthesis. Somatostatin was inhibitory, and the effect of vasoactive intestinal peptide varied according to the source of the cells. We have previously shown that neuropeptides also cause mast cell secretion and that only substance P was effective in this regard on intestinal mucosal mast cells. Therefore, we looked for microanatomic relationships between peptidergic nerves and immune effector cells. Mast cells appear to have structural associations with neuropeptides-containing nerves in the intestine. Nerve growth factor, known to promote the growth of sensory afferent and sympathetic nerves, has significant direct effects on mast cells. In vitro, this substance caused enhanced antigen mediated histamine release and, in vivo, extensive mast cell hyperplasia. Also, in humans, we were able to produce increased numbers of mast cell/basophil colonies from peripheral blood in the presence of nerve growth factor.


  • Stanisz, Andrzej
  • Scicchitano, Ralph
  • Stead, Ron
  • Matsuda, Hiroshi
  • Tomioka, Motoaki
  • Denburg, Judah Aryeh
  • Bienenstock, John

publication date

  • December 1987