Using zebrafish to understand reciprocal interactions between the nervous and immune systems and the microbial world.
Animals rely heavily on their nervous and immune systems to perceive and survive within their environment. Despite the traditional view of the brain as an immunologically privileged organ, these two systems interact with major consequences. Furthermore, microorganisms within their environment are major sources of stimuli and can establish relationships with animal hosts that range from pathogenic to mutualistic. Research from a variety of human and experimental animal systems are revealing that reciprocal interactions between microbiota and the nervous and immune systems contribute significantly to normal development, homeostasis, and disease. The zebrafish has emerged as an outstanding model within which to interrogate these interactions due to facile genetic and microbial manipulation and optical transparency facilitating in vivo imaging. This review summarizes recent studies that have used the zebrafish for analysis of bidirectional control between the immune and nervous systems, the nervous system and the microbiota, and the microbiota and immune system in zebrafish during development that promotes homeostasis between these systems. We also describe how the zebrafish have contributed to our understanding of the interconnections between these systems during infection in fish and how perturbations may result in pathology.
Levraud, J-P; Rawls, JF; Clatworthy, AE
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