Regulation of immunity by the nervous system, now a well-established phenomenon in mammals, is effected in part through the autonomic innervation of lymphoid tissues. Noradrenergic fibers specifically target lymphocyte-rich areas in mammalian lymphoid tissues, and their ablation, or the administration of adrenergic agents, can significantly alter immune responses. This study demonstrates that the spleen of the coho salmon is also richly innervated by adrenergic neurons. While this innervation enters the spleen and remains largely associated with the splenic vasculature, fibers can also be observed entering the parenchyma. Although the coho spleen does not possess a well-developed white pulp, aggregations of leukocytes are found adjacent to the major blood vessels in close proximity to the vascular nervous tissue and parenchymal fibers. Chemical sympathectomy with 6-hydroxydopamine results in a significant enhancement of the splenic antibody-secreting cell response to trinitrophenylated sheep red blood cells. These results suggest that sympathectomy is removing a constraint, in the form of inhibitory catecholamines, on the immune response. The potential benefits from a teleost model of neural-immune interactions are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by a Sigma Xi grant-in-aid of research and by research Department of Zoology, Oregon State University. 1 thank Drs. Christopher J. Bayne Kaattari for comments on the manuscript.
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