Cholinergic signals to and from the immune system

I. Rinner, P. Felsner, A. Falus, E. Skreiner, T. Kukulansky, A. Globerson, K. Hirokawa, K. Schauenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This article reviews recent data from our laboratory towards the impact of the autonomous nervous system on mutual interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system. Using a pharmacological approach in rats it is shown that shifts in the adrenergic/cholinergic balance in vivo affect in vitro functions of the non-specific and specific immune system, whereby adrenergic and cholinergic stimulation in general have opposite effects. A high degree of integration appears to exist between cells of the immune system with the cholinergic system. Lymphocytes were found to react to acetylcholine, but are also able to produce and to degradate this neurotransmitter. In addition, changes in the cholinergic tonus were found to affect immune signaling to the brain and to protect thymocytes from apoptosis, possibly via a direct effect on thymic epithelial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-220
Number of pages4
JournalImmunology Letters
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2 Jan 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenergic, cholinergic signal
  • Apoptosis
  • Immune function
  • Immune-neuroendocrine interaction
  • Thymus epithelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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