Neuropeptides, cytokines and thymus peptides as effectors of interactions between thymus and neuroendocrine system
The review presents data on mutual influence of nervous system and thymus, realized through the neuroendocrine-immune interactions. The presence of adrenergic and peptidergic nerves in thymus creates conditions for implementation of the effect of neuropeptides secreted by them. These neuropeptides induce activation of thymus cells receptors and influence on the main processes in thymus, including T-lymphocyte maturation, cytokine and hormones production. In turn, thymus peptides and/or cytokines, controlled by them, enter the brain and exert influence on neuronal function, which creates the basis for changes of behavior and homeostasis maintenance in response to infection. Ageing and some infectious, autoimmune, neurodegenerative and cancer diseases are accompanied by distortion of interactions between thymus and central nervous system. Mechanisms of signaling pathways, which determine these interactions, are not revealed yet, and their understanding will promote the development of effective therapeutic strategies.