Research Foci

1. CNS mechanisms and neuroimmune interacticons

1.1 Anatomy of the neuroendocrine systems (hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and others)

1.2 Effects of experimental CNS lesions on the immune and endocrine response

1.3 CNS reactions upon immunization, infection or inflammation

1.4 Mediators of neuroimmune interactions in the CNS

(Neurohormones, Neuropeptides, Neurotransmitters, products of immune cells and others)

1.5 Immunomodulation by psycho- and neurotropic drugs

1.6 CNS modulation by immunomodulatory drugs

1.7 The blood brain barrier and neuroimmune interactions

1.8 The olfactory system and the immune system

1.9 Sleep and the immune response, circadian rhythms and the immune response

2. Innervation of lymphoid organs
(bone marrow, thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, MALT and others)

2.1 Anatomy of the innervation of lymphoid organs

2.2 Development of the innervation of lymphoid organs

2.3 Innervation of lymphoid organs during the aging process

2.4 Functional interactions between nerve fibers and immune cells in lymphoid organs

2.5 Experiments with chemical or surgical denervation of lymphoid organs

3. Modulation of immune cells by neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and hormones

(Catecholamines, serotonin, histamin, substance P, somatostatin, endorphine, cortisol, ACTH, CRH, androgens, estrogens, gestagens, DHEA, GH, PRL, VIP, melatonin, thymic hormones, TSH, T4, T3, vasopressin and others)

3.1 Investigation of receptors on target immune cells, target endocrine cells, and target neurons and signal transduction

3.2 Modulation of immunological mechanisms by neurotransmitters, neuropeptides and hormones

3.3 Modulation of immune cell migration and redistribution by neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and hormones

4. Modulation of neurons by immune cells and their products

4.1 Modulation neuropeptide and neurotransmitter release

4.2 Modulation of neurone growth and differentiation

4.3 Modulation of the peripheral nervous system

5. Bidirectional interactions between immune system, endocrine sytem, and nervous system

5.1 Long-loop immune-neuro-endocrine interactions

5.2 Short loop immune-neuro-endocrine interactions

5.3 Combinations of long-loop and short-loop regulatory circuits

5.4 Long-loop and short-loop regulatory circuits and the aging process

6. Stress and behavior modulate the nervous / immune / endocrine systems

6.1 Conditioning of immune responses

6.2 Coping strategies and immune responses

6.3 Change of behaviour after immunisation, infection, and inflammation

6.4 Stress-induced modulation of the immune systems (e.g. via hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, via the hypothalamus autonomic nervous system axis, and others)

6.5 Sport and exercise influence the immune system

7. Diseases - role of the communication between the systems

7.1 Interactions of the immune system, the endocrine system, and the nervous system during disease

7.2 Stress as a modulator of disease

7.3 Psychiatric diseases and the immune response

7.4 Role of the endocrine system and the nervous system for chronic inflammatory diseases

7.5 Neuroimmune disease of the CNS and the peripheral nervous system

7.6 Role of the endocrine system and the nervous system for allergic diseases


Rainer H. Straub, 10.2005