Lab Projects: Neuroimmunology
Our lab has studied the mechanism and nature of the connection between the brain and the immune system. In this area we have focused on neuroimmune intercommunication and demonstrate that there is direct communication between the immune system and the brain with the possibility that the opioids are in part the mediators between the two systems.
Interferons (IFNs) were originally detected in immunological cells and have been shown to be produced during non-immunological responses of both central and peripheral origins. Many infections and neuroinflammatory diseases are associated with acute and chronic pain states. Interestingly, clinical treatment using IFNs in cancer patients has lead to sensory abnormalities including spontaneous pain, while spinally applied IFNs facilitate the flexor reflex in spinalized rats. This may represent an analogue of behavioral hyperalgesia. The above features indicate that IFNs affects CNS processes. The effects of IFNs have been extensively studied in a variety of systems; our lab studies the role IFNs and other immune modulators play in the nervous system.