What IsThe Link Between The Immune System And Social Behavior? Find Out What Science Says

A study has suggests that there is a link between the immune system and social behavior. Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Massachusetts found that genetically blocking an immune molecule called interferon gamma caused the brain of mice to become hyperactive and led the mice to become less social.

A report from Bustle said that the human body makes interferon gamma molecule when it is exposed to pathogens. Lead author Anthony J. Filiano, PhD said that the hypothesis is that social interaction leads to greater risk of spreading pathogens. "The idea is that interferon gamma, in evolution, has been used as a more efficient way to both boost social behavior while boosting an anti-pathogen response."

Social Behaviors Impacted

Mice are usually social creatures, according to a report from Gizmodo. However, the blockage of the interferon gamma molecule led to less social interaction with other mice. Parts of their brain in charge of social interaction were impaired.

When the researchers stopped blocking the interferon gamma in the mice, their brains refrained from being hyperactive, according to the report. As a result of the normalization of their brains after the reintroduction of the interferon gamma, normal social behavior in the mice were also restored.

Brain And Immune System Linked

"The brain and the adaptive immune system were thought to be isolated from each other, and any immune activity in the brain was perceived as a sign of pathology," said Jonathan Kipnis, one of the authors, as per NDTV. Kipnis is from the University of Virginia.

"And now, not only are we showing that they are closely interacting, but some of our behaviour traits might have evolved because of our immune response to pathogens," said Kipnis. The study, which was published in Nature can reportedly help in understanding autism and schizophrenia. 

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