Immunoception: brain representation and control of peripheral immunity
Thoughts and emotions can impact physiology. This connection is evident in the emergence of disease following stress, psychosomatic disorders, or recovery in response to placebo treatment. Nevertheless, this fundamental aspect of physiology remains largely unexplored. In this talk, I will focus on the bidirectional communication between the brain and the immune system, a mechanism we recently coined as immunoception. The brain represents that state of the immune response and forms “immunengrams” that can regulate different immune reactions. In this talk, I will discuss how the brain stores and represents immune information and how the brain’s predictive capacity can be implemented in central immune system control. A mechanistic understanding of the neuro-immune dialog has potential implications for understanding and treating psychosomatic and autoimmune disorders and may offer new avenues for immune-modulation.