PLOS Biology: Inflammation Triggers RNA Transfer from Blood Cells to Brain Neurons

The nervous and immune systems are the two most complex systems in the
body. That complexity is amplified by the fact that each influences the
other, as they constantly exchange messages in response to environmental
and internal cues. The best known messages from immune cells are the
cytokines, which trigger changes within neurons through well-established
receptor-initiated cascades. But in a new study in this issue of PLOS Biology,
Kirsten Ridder, Stefan Momma, and colleagues show that hematopoietic
cells, which include the cells of the immune system, release messenger
RNAs (mRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs) that are absorbed by neurons. This
mechanism of signaling is elevated in response to inflammation, and the
transferred RNAs have the potential to influence neuronal responses.
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