Interactions between the nervous system and immune system are required for organ function and homeostasis. Evidence suggests that enteric neurons and intestinal immune cells share common regulatory mechanisms and can coordinate their responses to developmental challenges and environmental aggressions. These discoveries shed light on the physiology of system interactions and open novel perspectives for therapy designs that target underappreciated neurological–immunological commonalities. Here we highlight findings that address the importance of neuroimmune cell units (NICUs) in intestinal development, homeostasis and disease.
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We thank the members of our laboratories for discussions. Supported by the European Research Council (647274 for the H.V.-F. laboratory), the European Union (H.V.-F. laboratory), the Chron's and Colitis Foundation of America (H.V.-F. laboratory), the Kenneth Rainin Foundation (H.V.-F. laboratory), Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal (H.V.-F. laboratory), the Medical Research Council (V.P. laboratory), the Francis Crick Institute (V.P. laboratory) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (V.P. laboratory).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Veiga-Fernandes, H., Pachnis, V. Neuroimmune regulation during intestinal development and homeostasis. Nat Immunol 18, 116–122 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ni.3634
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