Dual Function Molecules for Brain and Immunity by Jon Lieff (9/29/13)
Excerpt: “…what has not been appreciated until recently is that many signals, pattern recognition receptors, and a large number of proteins have a dual function in both the immune and nervous systems.”
My comment: “The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences” is a 57-page award-winning book chapter/journal article available as an archived author’s copy.
The model that is detailed in the published work details what may be the earliest appreciation expressed for links between olfactory and immune systems. For example, we introduced nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution in the context of a mammalian model of epigenetic effects on gondadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) via alternative splicings in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article. Co-author Teresa Binstock then further developed “An immune hypothesis of sexual orientation” and published it after Elekonich and Robinson (2000) extended our 1996 model of immune system-linked hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior to insects.
In mammals, GnRH links the olfactory and immune systems to nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution of the human brain via ecological, social, neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction The conserved molecular mechanisms of niche construction in species from microbes to man are exemplified in many model organisms.
What we now see in the context of recent developments that point towards the immune and nervous systems being the same system, appears to be a reiteration of what Lewis Thomas once said: “The act of smelling something, anything, is remarkably like the act of thinking.”
In that same article, it is noteworthy that Lewis Thomas also said:”I should think we might fairly gauge the future of biological science, centuries ahead by estimating the time it will take to reach a complete comprehensive understanding of odor. It may not seem a profound enough problem to dominate all the life sciences, but it contains, piece by piece, all the mysteries.” — as cited in The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality.
In his excellent blog posts, Dr. Lieff has mentioned pheromones twice. However, in the context of linking the immune system and nervous system or realizing that they may be one in the same, the role of pheromones in self versus non-self recognition must rapidly be brought forward. It has, after all been quite clear since 1996, that the epigenetic effects of pheromones link them to GnRH, the immune system, brain development and behavior. Fortunately, Dr.Lieff may clarify for others the biologically based cause and effect that he perceives. But he can not further clarify biologically based cause and effect without providing more information on the role of pheromones in species from microbes to man.