New Study Explains How Immune System Directly Affects Social Behavior

First Posted: Jul 18, 2016 05:33 AM EDT

A new study has found that the immune system condition has direct impact on the social behavior in mice.

According to a study conducted by researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Virginia, the health of the immune system directly influences a creature's social behavior and desire to interact with others. The study claims that any problem with the immune system could result in a bad social life, reported Gizmodo.

The immune system produces a molecule called interferon gamma which fights against bacteria, parasites and viruses. During the study, it was found that by blocking this molecule using genetic modifications in in test mice, made regions of the brain hyperactive. As a result the mice became less social. However, restoring the molecule back normalized the mice's brain activity as well as their social behavior.

The research team concluded that the brain could be defined or modified by immune molecules such as the interferon gamma.

Jonathan Kipnis from the University of Virginia said that it was previously believed that brain and the adaptive immune system were isolated from each other, and that any immune activity in the brain was perceived as a sign of pathology. However, now, the new research study has proved that they are not only closely related, but some of the behavior traits might have evolved because of the immune system's response to pathogens, reported Pulse Headlines.

It is believed that the research findings will have important implications in human beings suffering from various neurological diseases such as autism-spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

"Our findings contribute to a deeper understanding of social dysfunction in neurological disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia, and may open new avenues for therapeutic approaches," said Vladimir Litvak, Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US.

The research findings were published in the journal Nature.

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