A groundbreaking discovery could have massive implications for the medical community.
Scientists have just made a shock discovery about our immune system that could change how we view social behavior.
The scientists found that our immune system can greatly affect or even change social behavior, which may have broad implications for how we approach the treatment of neurological diseases like autism and schizophrenia, according to a University of Virginia statement.
The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of neurological disorders, particularly those tied to social dysfunction, the researchers say. It could lead to important new treatments for autism and schizophrenia.
To come to their findings, the researchers developed a novel systems-biology approach to better understand the complex dialogue between brain function and immune signalling. They found an unexpected role for an important cytokene that promotes social brain functions.
Scientists had long thought that the brain and adaptive immune system were isolated from each other, but this new research indicates they closely interact with each other.
“The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as sign of a pathology. And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behavior traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens,” explained Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, chairman of UVA’s Department of Neuroscience. “It’s crazy, but maybe we are just multicellular battlefields for two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be dictated by the immune system.”
“Immune molecules are actually defining how the brain is functioning. So, what is the overall impact of the immune system on our brain development and function?” Kipnis continued. “I think the philosophical aspects of this work are very interesting, but it also has potentially very important clinical implications.”