– The greatest gift is the gift of learning (Native American saying)
Introduced a few years ago as our new annual feature, we publish a list of our readers’ favorite BrainImmune stories.
Our #1 most-read story this year is Thyroid Hormone Modulation of Immune Responses in Physiologic And Stressful Conditions. This review is authored by Graciela Cremaschi and Ana Maria Genaro from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Buenos Aires, Argentina. As discussed by these authors: “interactions between thyroid hormones and the immune system are important to elicit appropriate immune responses, especially when the immune system is challenged as in stressful conditions”.
Evidently, thyroid and stress have a strong relation. We have several articles related to this issue. In fact, at BrainImmune, we discuss the early studies from 1808, when Caleb Parry described the first patient “Elizabeth S”, who had developed hyperthyroidism following acute stress. In this context, Samer El-Kaissi, Hooshang Lahooti and Jack Wall discuss further the evidence for an effect of stress on the development of an autoimmune disorder and the relationship between the clinical onset of Graves’ hyperthyroidism and major stress in the preceding 2-3 months. Furthermore, Agathocles Tsatsoulis and Christina Limniati suggested a unifying hypothesis for the role of stress, where “the stress hormones may steer the balance toward a Th2 phenotype. Effector Th2 cells and type 2 cytokines will then induce antigen-specific B lymphocytes to produce anti-TSHr antibodies……Under these circumstances, the clinical outcome will be GD” (Graves’ disease).
Our 2nd most popular story is the short overview about Walter Cannon: Homeostasis, the Fight-or-Flight Response, the Sympathoadrenal System, and the Wisdom of the Body. This article is authored by David S. Goldstein, M.D., Ph.D., a Senior Investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, USA. Dr. Goldstein is a recognized worldwide expert in physiology and neuroscience of the human autonomic nervous system, and an author of the Adrenaline and the Inner World: An Introduction to Scientific Integrative Medicine.
Walter Bradford Cannon, one of America’s leading physiologists, and former Chairman of the Department of Physiology at Harvard Medical School (1906-1942), invented the terms and developed the concepts of ‘homeostasis’ (stability of the inner world); the ‘Fight or Flight Response’, and The ‘Sympathoadrenal System’. In 1932, Cannon published The Wisdom of the Body, where he popularized the new term of the dynamic equilibrium/steady state of the internal milieu or homeostasis.
We believe that Goldstein’s article about Walter Cannon, in contrast to other sources available online, provides an extensive and comprehensive description and analysis of the nature of these concepts and how these three theories were developed in the first half of the 20th century. Of note, as per David Goldstein, Cannon’s notion of a unitary sympathoadrenal system endures to this day. Many situations, however, entail differential regulation of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenomedullary hormonal system.
Coming in at #11, somewhat surprising to us, is The Evolving Link between Social Media Addiction and Depression in Young Adults. At first glance, there is no direct connection between social media overuse and health risks or neuroendocrine-immune dysfunction. But despite the recent message from the UK Royal College of Pediatrics that there is “no good evidence that time in front of a screen is ‘toxic’ to health”, the article ‘Digital Media, Anxiety, and Depression in Children’ discussed in the above-mentioned social media seems to suggest the opposite. This article was published in Pediatrics, the official journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics.
Major depression is a common but serious mood disorder, where both neuroendocrine and immune dysfunctions play major roles. It is also known that major depression contributes to serious health hazards such as the development of cardiovascular diseases. Thus, social media overuse may in fact be linked to health risks and a neuroendocrine-immune dysfunction.
Interestingly, the short blog-style post Chronic Urticaria Linked to a Th2/Th17 Shift in Skin Lesions (#5) was an unexpected article to appear on the most-read list. This may simply indicate a relatively high readership interest about new evolving immune or neuroendocrine-immune mechanisms contributing to urticaria such as T helper (Th)2 and/or Th17 shift. Or, another explanation may be the mechanisms involving the association between psychological stress and urticaria. This may also indicate a similar mechanism in Graves’ disease as outlined in another BrainImmune article mentioned above: ‘Stress-Induced Th2 Shift & Thyroid Autoimmunity: Unifying Hypothesis’.
Of note, the two articles:
are really unique in that the Hans Selye stress concept, and the discovery of interferon, are written by Profs. Istvan Berczi and Derek Burke, two investigators who had the chance to work along Hans Selye and Alick Isaacs, respectively.
Importantly, two of our recent COVID-19-related articles made the top 25 most-read. This includes Stress, Dyshomeostasis and COVID-19 Mortality: A Big Picture View (#12) and β2-Adrenoceptor-Mediated Upregulation of IL-17 May Contribute to Pulmonary Immunopathology in COVID-19: Does Blockade of IL-17 and β-Adrenergic Effects Hold a Therapeutic Potential? (#16).
In any case, here are the 25 most popular BrainImmune stories of 2020:
1. Thyroid Hormone Modulation of Immune Responses in Physiologic and Stressful Conditions: Implications for Thyroid Diseases
By Graciela Cremaschi and Ana Maria Genaro
5. Chronic Urticaria Linked to a Th2/Th17 Shift in Skin Lesions
By Ilia Elenkov
6. The Discovery of Adrenaline
By Ashley Grossman and David Jessop
7. Claude Bernard, the Father of Modern Physiology and Experimental Medicine
By Vincent Geenen
9. Sympathetic Dysautonomia in Fibromyalgia: Brief Overview
By Manuel Martínez-Lavín
10. Neuroendocrine-Immune Interactions in Lung Inflammatory Diseases
By Jerry Yu
11. The Evolving Link between Social Media Addiction and Depression in Young Adults
By Ilia Elenkov
12. Stress, Dyshomeostasis and COVID-19 Mortality: A Big Picture View
By David Goldstein
By Julie Lasselin, Bianka Karshikoff and Tina Sundelin
15. Innervation of the Human Thymus and Spleen – an Overview
By Valsamo Anagnostou, Ipatia Doussis-Anagnostopoulou, Dina Tiniakos and Christos Kittas
16. β2-Adrenoceptor-Mediated Upregulation of IL-17 May Contribute to Pulmonary Immunopathology in COVID-19: Does Blockade of IL-17 and β-Adrenergic Effects Hold a Therapeutic Potential?
By Georges Maestroni
17. Endogenous Catecholamines in Immune Cells: Discovery, Functions And Clinical Potential as Therapeutic Targets
By Marco Cosentino, Natasa Kustrimovic and Franca Marino
19. Hans Selye and the Birth of the Stress Concept
By Istvan Berczi
20. β2-Adrenergic Agonists for Parkinson’s Disease: Repurposing Drugs at the Crossroad of the Brain and the Immune System
By Marco Cosentino, Natasa Kustrimovic and Franca Marino
21. Bartolomeo Eustachius and the Discovery of Adrenal Glands
By Rita Businaro and Angela Tagliani
22. The Glucocorticoid Receptor
By Tomoshige Kino
24. Sex Hormones and Immunoregulation
By Marijke Faas, Paul de Vos and Barbro Melgert