Biologists from the University of Virginia in the United States published in the journal Nature the results of a study according to which social behavior of a person may be associated with the immune system. Previously, it was believed that the central nervous system and the mechanism of immunity are not connected in any way, but recently scientists have shown that the meningeal vessels, which are involved in the blood supply to the brain, directly connect the brain to the lymphatic system, which serves as a source of cells for immunity.
Having carried out an experiment on laboratory mice, biologists have found that during social interaction in the body, the level of interferon gamma rises - an immunocyte, which begins to be actively produced when the defense system fights infection. When scientists blocked the production of a substance, the behavior of the animals became less socially active.
The authors of the study explain this phenomenon by the fact that social contacts pose a certain risk of transmission of infection: apparently, our body has evolutionarily adapted to this and has learned to elicit an appropriate response from the immune system. “It sounds crazy, but perhaps we are just multicellular battlefields of two ancient forces: pathogens and the immune system. Part of our personality may actually be under the control of immunity,”explained the head of the research group, Jonathan Kipnis.
Scientists believe that malfunctions in the immune system can be the cause of impaired social interaction in neurological and mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.