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Leukocytes and neurogenic inflammation

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image of Inflammopharmacology

Neurogenic inflammation is caused by the release of substance P and CGRP from sensory nerves, which stimulates microvascular plasma extravasation and vasodilatation. There is now an increasing body of evidence supporting a role for these neuropeptides in the control of the immune response, in addition to their local inflammatory effects. Indirectly, their ability to increase blood flow allows them to potentiate immunocyte accumulation. They are also able to directly affect immunocytes through cell surface receptors. Substance P has a general stimulatory role, activating immunocytes and enhancing their activities (e.g. cytokine and antibody production). CGRP plays a more subdued role, tailoring the immune response to particular pathogens. Recent evidence suggests that some immunocytes may even be able to synthesise and release neuropeptides. Overall, an increasingly complex system of neuropeptide control of the immune system is apparent, potentially providing novel therapeutic targets.


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