Immunological "neuro-nets"

Mike Robertson VICE at EARN.PASTEUR
Tue May 19 14:53:27 EST 1992

During a seminar today (perhaps I was only dozing) on cytokines and the
control of lymphocyte proliferation and activation, I was struck by the
similarity between the immunological network and neural networks.  Like neurons
each lymphocyte receives a number of signals, the net effect of which is either
activation and proliferation or inhibition.  The lymphocyte in turn delivers
its own signals, via cytokines or other mechanisms, which effect other cells,
including those cells which sent signals to it. Etc, etc.  My question is, has
anyone been working on a neural network model of the immune system?  My gut
feeling is that we must model this to understand the net result rather than look
at isolated cells and their response to individual neurons.  This is somewhat
like trying to understand cognitive functions by looking at individual neurons.
Not being an expert on neural nets (it is debatable whether I am an expert on
lymphocytes, or anything else for that matter : )  ) I doubt I could set up a
working model myself, but I would love to hear from anyone who has or would be
interested in giving it a shot.

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