Immune molecule does double duty as social manager

Social players: Immune cells may play an unexpected role in shaping how much people socialize.Stem Jems / SCIENCE SOURCE An immune molecule that helps defend people from infection with viruses or bacteria may also keep brain activity in check, allowing people to be social. The preliminary findings, presented today at the 2015 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in Chicago, show that brain exposure to interferon-gamma — a molecule released in response to infection — is necessary for normal social behavior in mice. The findings add an intriguing new layer to the link between the immune system and the brain. They suggest that conditions characterized by social deficits, such as autism, could stem in part from a faulty immune system, says lead researcher Jonathan Kipnis, professor of neuroscience at the University…

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