Aug 16, 2018 Last Updated 12:13 PM, Aug 1, 2018
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Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is one of the most important cytokines of adaptive immunity. It was first identified as a principal autocrine mitogenic factor for T cells, as well as being the first product of recombinand DNA technology to be used as immuno-boosting treatment for human experimentation in pathologies in which immune modulation was a promising therapeutic strategy (e.g. cancer or AIDS). However, its role in adaptive immune response, as it was later discovered, goes well beyond that of a "mere" aspecific growth factor for T cells. Quite soon, in fact, researcers had to deal with the baffling evidence that patients with autoimmune disease displayed low production of IL-2, while mouse models with compromised IL-2 signal axis developed autoimmune conditions, a puzzle that was clarified only when Tregs were discovered.  

The contact between T cell receptors (TCR), expressed by CD4 T lymphocytes, and the MHC on the surface of antigen presenting cells is crucial in leading the differentiation of naive T cells into effector cells that are required in the adaptive response against microbes. On the other hand, long-lasting immunity is guaranteed, in the aftermath of the fight against invading organisms, by memory T cells that emerge from a small population of effector T cells that survives the initial clonal expansion. 

L'Associazione Italiana di Neuroimmunologia ha concesso il proprio patrocinio per le attività della Scuola quadriennale di Specializzazione post-laurea in Medicina e Chirurgia e in Psicologia dal titolo “Scuola di specializzazione in psicoterapia e neuroscienze orientata allo studio e al trattamento dei disturbi mentali e del comportamento nelle malattie neurologiche (PSICOMED)”.

B cells play a role in most autoimmune conditions mostly due faulty immune tolerance, both central and peripheral, that should instead be meant to keep autoreactive cells at bay. In multiple sclerosis (MS) B cell aggregates located in the meninges and spinal cord seem to be an important factor that contributes to the compartmentalized CNS inflammation that is typical of this disease. Despite our incomplete knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying MS pathogenesis, great advances have been made in this field by research.

Joseph Park and colleagues realized a novel 3D cellular model which allows to study the interactions and neuroinflammatory cues that occurbetween neurons, astrocytes and microglia in the inflammed human brain during Alzheimer's disease. 

In this paper, published on Nature Communications by Simon Faissner and colleagues, the authors screened a group of 1040 compounds from the NINDS database in order to find a potential therapeutic compound for progressive multiple sclerosis, a diagnosis for which most of clinical trials have failed so far.

The measurement of surface markers such as CD45RA, CD45RO or CD27/CD62L/CCR7 is a common, and widely accepted method used by polychromatic flow cytometry users to evaluate the numbers of naive T cells in experimental samples. Even though this population is often considered as a homogeneous group of immune cells, it is becoming increasingly clear that naive T cell niche includes, instead a rather vast spectrum of cells with different function, differentiation state and phenotype.

Journal impact factor (JIF) is the main - if not the only - parameter used today to evaluate the quality of a published research and, consequently, the primary tool to estimate the prestige of a CV. Despite the fact that it is often considered an imperfect tool, to date, the finding of a valid alternative to JIF seems like a rather difficult task, says John Tregoning, Senior Lecturer at the Imperial College of London, on Nature. 

Cytokine release syndrome (CRS) is a pathological condition, triggered by a massive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines -often referred to as "cytokine storm"- associated to many infectious and non-infectious conditions. Its clinical features include fever, vascular leakage, hypotension and, in some individuals even neurotoxicity and death.

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The European Research Council recently published its annual review regarding funded projects that ended in mid-2015, and declared that around four out of five financed studies resulted in a major scientific advances and, among these, one out of five consisted in a fundamental breakthrough; these studies are already having considerable economic and social impact. 

"Results that hold only for a particular mouse in a particular lab in a particular experiment are arguably not science.", says Philip Stark, statistic professor at Berkeley, as he addresses the problem of data replicability. 

Francisco J. Quintana, which we had the plasure to listen in the last AINI congress in Trieste, published this astounding paper on Nature on the role played by the metabolites produced by the commensal flora on microglial cells, and the way they respectively control inflammation by modulating astrocyte functions.

"Vaccination has successfully reduced the burden of infectious diseases worldwide, but stagnating immunization coverage and lack of effective vaccines for many endemic and newly emerging pathogens pose a threat to sustainable global health."

"When John Harley lost a friend to lupus while in medical school, he vowed to get to the bottom of the disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder that causes fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and sometimes death. Now, some 40 years later, Harley says he’s found a “smoking gun.” The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which infects some 90% of Americans, may cause changes in gene expression that dramatically increase a person’s chance of getting lupus and six other autoimmune disorders, a new study by Harley and colleagues shows." 

Innate immune cells do not forget

  • Apr 20, 2018
  • Published in News

Thinking that immune memory is an exclusive feature of adaptive immunity is a common mistake, and recent evidences strongly indicates that the innate branch of our immune system is just as able to react adaptively to repeated stimuli, displaying a de facto innate immune memory. The molecular mechanism behind the ability of innate immune cells to be "trained" to act differentially to occasional or sustained stimuli resides in epigenetic modifications that are induced by imprinting signals that alter subsequent immune responses. Since innate immune cells are pivotal in inflammatory homeostasis in periphery as well as in the central nervous system (CNS) where they are involved in the modulation of neuronal functions, Ann-Christin Weldeln and colleagues, addressed an important question: is innate immune memory is involved in neuropathological alterations?

 

More than 75% of autoimmune diseases display increased prevalence in women, and estrogens have been often pointed out as possible responsible due to their involvement in a rather wide number of physiological functions, including immune ones. However, to date, the role of estrogens in immune reactions, especially T-dependent ones, is still not well understood.

Multiple sclerosis

  • Apr 10, 2018
  • Published in News

In this massive review the authors have gathered the most up-to-date informations concerning the epidemiologic, genetic, physiopathological and clinic aspects of multiple sclerosis.  

In animal research, a clean environment is often considered a mandatory condition to avoid collateral and unwanted stimuli that might interfere with the experimental condition a researcher is investigating. On the other hand, the immune system of these animals seems to remain stunned by the lack of immune challenges, some says, to the point that these animals might not represent a bona fide model for the immune system. 

 

One of the hardest struggle in a scientist's life is writing a paper that is complete and compelling - yet concise, clear and, overall, understandable.

The concept of the brain as an "immune privileged" environment is fading away, as an ever growing number of papers is continuously demonstrating the strict functional connection between immunity and central nervous system. 

No pain, all gain

  • Mar 16, 2018
  • Published in News

Neuroimmunological modulation of host defense is emerging as a novel approach in enhancing immune response to pathogens, as the massive use of antibiotics is resulting in the increasing prevalence of drug-resistant strains of pathogens. As a matter of fact, lungs represent an important interface that is massively exposed to noxious bacterial stimuli and that must be constantly prone to avoid infection and microbial dissemination.  

 

Disfunctional intestinal barrier is considered a main trigger in the onset of several pathologies, including neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders.

 

Neural stem cells (NSC) are emerging as a very promising new therapeutic tools in neurodegenerative diseases by virtue of their immuno-modulatory abilities; however the cellular and molecular mechanism that are behind their properties have not been fully elucidated yet. In this paper, published on Cell Stem Cell by Luca Perruzzotti-Jametti and colleagues, demonstrated that NSCs might reduce neuroinflammation by reducing succinate, which acts as an immunometabolite that is produced by pro-inflammatory myeolid phagocytes, during immune response, by triggering a plethora of inflammatory stimuli.

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating condition for which, to date, no effective clinical intervention has been found. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are emerging as possible cell-based therapy for many brain-related pathologies - including SCI - although the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind their effect are still quite unclear. In this paper, published on Scientific Reports, Katherine A. Ruppert and colleagues tried to administer MSC-derived endovescicles, which are thought to deliver paracrine regenerative factors, to rats undergoing spinal cord contusion.

Senior european corrispondent Alyson Abbot summarizes the difficult situation of italian scientific and academic environment in the final weeks before elections.

Microbiota has been recently emerging as an unexpectedly important partner in immune homeostasis and its disfunctions have been correlated to virtually every immunopathological condition.

This year AINI has issued a generous numbers of Grants, both for the XXVII Congress of the Italian Association of Neuroimmuniology (AINI 2018 - Trieste, May 7-10, 2018) and the 14th International Congress of Neuroimmunology (ISNI 2018 - Brisbane - Australia, August 27-31, 2018).

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The 1st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Italian Young Neuroscientists, BraYn (Brainstorming Research Assembly for Young Neuroscientists), which will be held in Genoa, Italy, during the 29th and 30th of June 2018, is inspired and organized by researchers under the age of 40 from different backgrounds and with different scientific approaches. The meeting aims establish connections between the future protagonists of Italian neuroscience.

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Conferences & Courses

17° Corso CRNI Viva la differenza: sesso e neuroimmunologia

March 7-10, 2018 
Bergamo - Bergamo Science Center

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Encefaliti Autoimmuni e Malattie Demielinizzanti Atipiche

16 febbraio 2018
Aula Magna Giorgio De Sandre
POLICLINICO UNIVERSITARIO G.B. ROSSI - Verona

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JNIInternational Brain Research Organization
Bringing Neuroscience to the World
JNIJournal of Neuroimmunology
Studies on all branches of neurosciences covering both research and clinical problems of neuroscientific interest.

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