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JST Press Release

April 19, 2016
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)
5-3, Yonbancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8666

Possible treatment for suppressed immune function in spinal cord injury patients

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) often cause suppression of immune function, which renders patients more susceptible to infection. Indeed, pneumonia and septicemia are the leading causes of mortality; however, the underlying mechanism still remains unknown. The study here reveals that after the injury, novel abnormal sympathetic circuits develop below the lesion, which connect to the immune organ and function to suppress immune system. Silencing of this circuitry blocks immune suppression. These data highlight a novel neurogenic mechanism of immune suppression, and provide a potential therapeutic method to treat immune deficiency frequently seen in SCI patients.

Program Information

Research Area “Elucidation and regulation in the dynamic maintenance and transfiguration of homeostasis in living body”
Research Theme “Disruption and recovery of homeostasis by neural network after CNS injury”

Journal Information

Masaki Ueno, Yuka Ueno-Nakamura, Jesse Niehaus, Phillip G. Popovich, and Yutaka Yoshida. “Silencing spinal interneurons inhibits immune suppressive autonomic reflexes caused by spinal cord injury”. Nature Neuroscience, Published online 18 April 2016, doi: 10.1038/nn.4289.


[About Research]
Masaki Ueno, D.V.M., Ph.D.
PRESTO Researcher, JST, Visiting researcher, Division of Developmental Biology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
URL: http://researchmap.jp/masakiueno/?lang=english

[About Program]
Tetsu Kawaguchi
Life Innovation Group, Department of Innovation Research, JST


JST, an integrated organization of science and technology in Japan, establishes an infrastructure for the entire process from the creation of knowledge to the return to the society. For more information, visit http://www.jst.go.jp/EN/