Author

Joshua Salama

Date of Award

2019

First Advisor

Erin McMullin

Second Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Abstract

Neuroinflammation and the associated neuro-immune systems that respond to it are both complex biological systems that are critical to our understanding of many diseases and disorders; yet we are still very much in the early stages of understanding the networks, pathways, and mechanisms involved. The current analysis seeks to introduce the reader to the basics of the biological systems involved in these processes, including the nervous system and its neuroanatomy, especially that within the brain, and the immune system in the body, specifically what we know about the body’s response to disease and, in particular, inflammation. Building on this knowledge, the topic of neuroimmunology, the relatively new field at the intersection of these two areas, is introduced, and recent research on the neurological mechanisms involved in neuroimmunology--are discussed. The analysis describes and summarizes the recent research on the role of neuroinflammation and neuroimmunology for a range of human diseases and disorders-- from psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders (such as depression and autism) to disorders with symptoms primarily the body (such as diabetes)--but focuses primarily on the role of these systems in trauma-related disorders, such as PTSD. The analysis concludes with a discussion of some possible directions for future research as well as the great potential of this area of study for our understanding and treatment of disorders and diseases.

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