The Immune System and the Developing Brain

Immune System and Developing BrainThe Immune System and the Developing Brain (Colloquium Series on the Developing Brain) is published by Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences and authored by Jaclyn M. Schwarz, from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of Delaware and Staci D. Bilbo, the Director of Research for the Lurie Center for Autism at of Massachusetts General Hospital, at the Harvard Medical School.

The developing brain is exquisitely sensitive to both endogenous and exogenous signals which direct or significantly alter the developmental trajectory of cells, neural circuits, and associated behavioral outcomes for the life of the individual.

Contrary to initial dogma that the brain is one of the few organs within the body that is immune-privileged, evidence indicates that the immune system has a critical role in brain function during development as well as during sickness and health in adulthood.

Microglia are the primary immune cells within the brain, and they are in constant communication with the peripheral immune system and surrounding cell types within the brain. We describe the important role of the immune system, including microglia, during brain development, and discuss some of the many ways in which immune activation during early brain development can affect the later-life outcomes of neural function, immune function, and cognition.

Growing evidence indicates that there is a strong link between many neuropsychiatric disorders and immune dysfunction, with a distinct etiology in neurodevelopment. Thus, understanding the role of the immune system and immune activation during the critical period of brain development is a necessary step toward understanding the potential origins of these devastating disorders.

Table of Contents: Introduction / The Immune Response / Brain-Immune Communication / Microglia Are Immune Cells of the Brain / The Functional Role of Microglia and Immune Molecules in Neurodevelopment / Early-Life Programming of Brain and Behavior: A Critical Role for the Immune System / Commonly Used Models of Early Life Immune Activation in the Rodent / Early Life Immune Activation and Cognitive Impairment in Adulthood / Mechanisms Underlying the Enduring Changes in Neuroimmune Function Caused by Early Life Infection / Toll-Like Receptors and Immune Activation During Early Brain Development / Environmental Triggers of TLR Activation: Long-Term Programming of Brain and Behavior / Future Directions to Understanding Immune Function and Brain Development / References

Paperback: 128 pages; Publisher: Morgan & Claypool Life Sciences (October 18, 2011)

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