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A fundamental bimodal role for neuropeptide Y1 receptor in the immune system


Psychological conditions, including stress, compromise immune defenses. Although this concept is not novel, the molecular mechanism behind it remains unclear. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) in the central nervous system is a major regulator of numerous physiological functions, including stress. Postganglionic sympathetic nerves innervating lymphoid organs release NPY, which together with other peptides activate five Y receptors (Y1, Y2, Y4, Y5, and y(6)). Using Y1-deficient (Y1(-/-)) mice, we showed that Y1(-/-) T cells are hyperresponsive to activation and trigger severe colitis after transfer into lymphopenic mice. Thus, signaling through Y1 receptor on T cells inhibits T cell activation and controls the magnitude of T cell responses. Paradoxically, Y1(-/-) mice were resistant to T helper type 1 (Th1) cell-mediated inflammatory responses and showed reduced levels of the Th1 cell-promoting cytokine interleukin 12 and reduced interferon gamma production. This defect was due to functionally impaired antigen-presenting cells (APCs), and consequently, Y1(-/-) mice had reduced numbers of effector T cells. These results demonstrate a fundamental bimodal role for the Y1 receptor in the immune system, serving as a strong negative regulator on T cells as well as a key activator of APC function. Our findings uncover a sophisticated molecular mechanism regulating immune cell functions that can lead to stress-induced immunosuppression.

Type Journal
ISBN 0022-1007 (Print)
Authors Wheway, J.;Mackay, C. R.;Newton, R. A.;Sainsbury, A.;Boey, D.;Herzog, H.;Mackay, F. :
Published Date 2005-01-01
Published Volume 202
Published Issue 11
Published Pages 1527-38
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version