Year in Review

Neuroimmunology in 2017: The central nervous system: privileged by immune connections

Over the past few years, interest in the field of neuroimmunology has expanded dramatically, thanks largely to new technologies that have advanced our understanding of the intimate connections between the nervous and immune systems1. Here, we highlight key advances in 2017 that have defined new roles for microglia in brain maintenance, for cytokines as neuromodulators and for the immune system in peripheral nerve activity.

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  1. 1.

    Multifaceted interactions between adaptive immunity and the central nervous system. Science 353, 766–771 (2016).

  2. 2.

    et al. A unique microglia type associated with restricting development of Alzheimer's disease. Cell 169, 1276–1290 (2017).

  3. 3.

    et al. From inflammation to sickness and depression: when the immune system subjugates the brain. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 9, 46–56 (2008).

  4. 4.

    et al. The maternal interleukin-17a pathway in mice promotes autism-like phenotypes in offspring. Science 351, 933–939 (2016).

  5. 5.

    et al. Reversing behavioural abnormalities in mice exposed to maternal inflammation. Nature 549, 482–487 (2017).

  6. 6.

    et al. IL-17 is a neuromodulator of Caenorhabditis elegans sensory responses. Nature 542, 43–48 (2017).

  7. 7.

    et al. Sensory neurons co-opt classical immune signaling pathways to mediate chronic itch. Cell 171, 217–228 (2017).

  8. 8.

    et al. The neuropeptide NMU amplifies ILC2-driven allergic lung inflammation. Nature 549, 351–356 (2017).

  9. 9.

    et al. The neuropeptide neuromedin U stimulates innate lymphoid cells and type 2 inflammation. Nature 549, 282–286 (2017).

  10. 10.

    et al. Neuronal regulation of type 2 innate lymphoid cells via neuromedin U. Nature 549, 277–281 (2017).

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The authors thank A. Impagliazzo for help with the figure.

Author information


  1. Jonathan Kipnis is at the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

    • Jonathan Kipnis
  2. Anthony J. Filiano is at the Robertson Clinical and Translational Cell Therapy Program and the Department of Neurosurgery, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.

    • Anthony J. Filiano


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jonathan Kipnis.