To study the possible mechanism by which peripheral nerves mediate immune responses in target tissues, electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve was combined with subcutaneous microdialysis of the hind paw. Following unilateral stimulation of the sciatic nerve, an ipsilateral rise in substance P and a bilateral rise in VIP levels were observed in dialysate samples from experimental vs control animals. Electrical stimulation of the sciatic nerve induced a marked hyperemia and swelling of the ipsilateral paw. Quantitative immunocytochemical analysis of paraffin-embedded sections of the hind foot pads demonstrated T lymphocyte migration ipsilateral to the stimulated nerve. These findings suggest that peripheral nerves can directly modulate local immune and inflammatoryresponses.
- Immune response
- Substance P
- T lymphocytes
- Vasoactive intestinal peptide