Every day researchers take a new step to explore the mechanism of immune system in maintaining our health. This time again researchers have discovered something really significant that will help understand the system much better. Scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research have found an association of the nervous system with immune system.
Mauricio Rosas-Ballina, MD, working with colleagues in the laboratory of Kevin J. Tracey, MD, has discovered that spleen, once thought to be a not-very-important organ, is in fact a very important tissue of the body that communicates with the brain. Spleen has been found to make tumour necrosis factor (TNF) which is a very powerful molecule that produces inflammation. When the vagus nerve (the long nerve going down from the base of the brain to the thoracic and abdomen body parts) is stimulated, then the TNF production in spleen reduces.
This finding can be now combined with previous studies that showed that the vagus nerve when stimulated, the survival rate in case of sepsis in laboratory models increased.
Sepsis is serious condition that is characterised by inflammation of the whole body. About 500,000 people are known to suffer form severe sepsis, every year and 225,000 sepsis deaths are recorded in US every year.
The new finding implies that any control on the anti-body production in spleen by stimulation of vagus nerve can affect the auto-immune disorders.
Earlier spleen was known to be a blood storing organ, however, it has only been quite a few years that scientists have recognised it as an important part of the immune cells manufacturing organ.