10th ISNIM Congress and 3rd SIPNEI Congress
The 10th International ISNIM Congress is being jointly organized with SIPNEI (the ISNIM-Associated Italian Society of Psychoneuroendocrineimmunology) and it will take place together with the 3rd SIPNEI Congress in Rome, Italy, on 26-28 May 2017. The Congress will be preceded by an Educational Pre-Conference on May 25th. ECM credits will be given to the participants attending this Course.
ISNIM and SIPNEI have put together a very interesting program. The Congress will start with ISNIM (Anna Katharina Simon, Oxford, United Kingdom) and SIPNEI (Mauro Bologna, Italy) Invited Plenary Lectures, followed by 7 ISNIM Sessions, covering different aspects of NeuroImmunoModulation, and 3 SIPNEI Symposia.
The Organizing Committee from ISNIM’s side has decided to leave as much time as possible for oral presentations by the participants. The oral presentations will be selected by an International Scientific Committee from the abstracts submitted.
It has also been decided to devote one ISNIM Session (Young NIM Highlights) for oral presentations by young researchers. The best two presentations will receive an ISNIM award certificate.
For more details about the scientific program, registration, abstract submission, social events, and further actualization, please check regularly:
We look forward to receiving you in beautiful Rome!
Welcome to REBRANIM, the Brazilian Branch
The ISNIM Officers and Executive Board Members warmly welcome REBRANIM (Rede Brasileira de Neuroimmunomodulaçao), the newly created branch in Brazil, and launched thanks to the initiative of Moises Bauer. Please, visit the REBRANIM page at:
In Memoriam: James Matthew Lipton
Dr. James Matthew Lipton died on 10th July 2006, in Arkansas. It was a great loss not only for his family and friends, but also for the scientific world. Dr. Lipton was co-founder of Neuroimmunomodulation, the official journal of our Society. The ISNIM Officers and Committee Members are deeply saddened by his death. A warm obituary, written by Dr. Novera Herbert Spector, has been published in Neuroimmunomodulation 23:194–195, 2016.
Proceedings of the 9th International ISNIM Congress
The Proceedings of the 9th International ISNIM Congress (Liège, Belgium, 25-27 September 2014) has been published by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (Neuroimmunomodulation in Health and Disease: 9th Congress of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation, Volume 1351, Pages 1–154, 2015).
A report of the 9th ISNIM Congress, in Liége, Belgium
by Katharina Ronacher, South Africa
The 9th Congress of the International Society of Neuroimmunomodulation (ISNIM) was held in Liège, Belgium, from the 25th to the 27th of September 2014 and brought together clinicians and basic research scientists from 6 different continents studying the interplay between the nervous, endocrine and immune systems in health and disease.
After a warm welcome address by the conference organiser Prof. Vincent Geenen from the University of Liège, the meeting commenced with a keynote lecture by Prof Hugo Besedovsky from Marburg, Germany. Besedovsky demonstrated on the model of long term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic activity that increased neuronal activity results in local cytokine production in the hippocampus, which in turn directly affects brain functions. LTP induces the expression of several cytokines including IL-1β. Interestingly IL-1ra interferes with LTP maintenance and transgenic mice overexpressing IL-1ra display significant memory impairment, whereas IL-1 receptor knock out mice display no LTP in vivo. Another cytokine implicated in memory and learning is IL-6 and appears to have opposing function to IL-1. IL-6 neutralization improves memory retention and IL-6 knock out mice perform better during learning. The role of IL-1 in the brain is not limited to memory and learning however. This cytokine is also a strong inducer of hypoglycaemia and mimics the effects of insulin. Diabetic mice that are resistant to insulin show long lasting hypoglycaemia after administration of IL-1. This effect is not mediated by prostaglandins, decreased food intake or glucose loss in urine and is IL-1 receptor- and MYD88-dependent.
Mia Levite from Jerusalem, Israel, gave a fascinating talk on the role of neurotransmitters in the immune system. Levite posed the question whether the brain can directly “talk” to T cells, as these cells express receptors for neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate. T cells come into contact with dopamine and other neurotransmitters in innervated lymphoid organs and in peripheral blood as well as directly in the brain, as is the case for activated T cells migrated into the brain. After T cell activation the levels of dopamine receptors increase significantly. At physiological concentrations dopamine itself activates naïve T cells, but downregulates Treg functions. Therefore dopamine exerts an immune stimulatory effect, but it is also involved in homing and migration of particularly CD8+ T cells. To evaluate the effect of dopamine therapeutically Levite initiated a clinical trial with head and neck cancer patients. Generally during many types of cancer the CD3 zeta chain is downregulated on T cells and this effect can be reversed with dopamine, which in turn enhances migration of the T cells to the cancer tissue. As part of this trial Levite removes some of the patient’s T cells, treats them ex vivo with dopamine and reinjects them into the patients. Whether the dopamine treated T cells migrate to the tumor in vivo and exert a suppressive effect on tumor growth remains to be seen. These findings demonstrate the tight link between neurotransmitters and immune regulation and warrant immunological follow up of psychiatric patients receiving dopaminergic drugs.
On the third day of the meeting the plenary lecture held by Robert Dantzer from Houston, USA focused on inflammation-induced depression. Infection induced sickness behaviour can be attributed to IL-1-induced upregulation of the HPA axis. Sickness behaviour can lead to development of depression, which is characterised by low plasma concentrations of trypophan, the amino acid required for serotonin production. Despite a reduction of peripheral tryptophan the brain is able to maintain local tryptophan concentrations. Tryptophan is metabolised into the neurotoxin quinolinic acid, an NMDA agonist. However the endogenous production of quinolinic acid alone is not sufficient to induce depression and Dantzer suggested that glutamatate produced by microglia cells could synergise with quinolinic acid to cause depressive symtptoms via glutamate receptor activation.
Moises Evandro Bauer spoke about neuroendocrine and viral correlates of premature immunosenescence. There is an age-related shift from Th1 to Th2 immune responses and generally lower levels of T and B cells, including antibody production. The age related loss of the TCR repertoire is comparable with the effects of glucocorticoid treatment. Cortisol levels are indeed increased in the elderly, however healthy aging is generally associated with a degree of glucocorticoid resistance. Immunosenescence can potentially be attenuated by growth hormone, ghrelin, IL-7, DHEA, melatonin as well as dietary supplements such as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Following on from Bauer’s talk, Richard Aspinall from Cambridge delivered a lecture on whether chronological age is a useful indicator for age-related immune decline. Adults over 65 years of age have a 1000 times higher chance of dying from a vaccine preventable disease, which is at least in part due to a 50% drop in vaccine efficacy in the aging population and it remains a goal to early identify individuals without good vaccine responses. Thymic output is reduced with aging as measured by the number of T cell receptor excision circles (TRECs) and is also associated with viral shedding of HHV5, HHV6 and HHV7. Given that T cells are the center of the age related immunological decline a possible therapeutic approach could be reversal of thymic atrophy or T cell replenishment through an artificial thymus. Aspinall and collegues seeded fibroblasts and epithelial cells onto a collagen coated scaffold and then added CD45+CD34+ stem cells from cord blood onto this matrix to discover that the stemcells differentiated initially CD4+CD8+ double positive T cells and later on into single positive CD4+ or CD8+ T cells. The cells produced large amounts of DLL-4, the trigger for stem cell differentiation, and IL-7. This exciting model gives researchers the opportunity to study thymus immunology now in more detail.
I have included only the most interesting talks from my perspective, but there were many more that certainly deserve mentioning !
The social highlight of the 9th Congress of the International Society of Neuroimmunomodulation was an exquisite Gala dinner at the historical Palais Provincial. Prof Vincent Geenen concluded the conference dinner with an entertaining slideshow of the history of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation from the first ISNIM Congress in Florence, Italy in 1990 to now.
Katharina Ronacher, PhD
Department of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
In Memoriam: Rolf Gaillard
The ISNIM Officers and Committee Members were deeply saddened by the death of Rolf Gaillard on November 18th, 2011 in Switzerland. Rolf was member of the newly elected Committee of the Society, and also served as Vice-President during the previous period. We already missed him when, due to his illness, he could not participate at the 2011 ISNIM Congress in Dresden, shortly before his death. Besides his internationally recognized scientific reputation, those of us who had the luck of knowing him for many years, will also miss his extraordinary human qualities and friendship.
New ISNIM Branches (Short message from Hugo O. Besedovsky)
I warmely welcome the three new ISNIM branches created by our colleagues in
Cuba, Perú, and Japan, which have recently joint our Society: the Cuban Network
of Neuroimmunomodulation, represented at the ISNIM by Maria Robinson; the
Asociación Peruana de Psiconeuroimmunoendocrinología (APPNIE), represented by
Jorge Santiago; and the Japanese NIM Network, represented by Toshihiko Katafuchi.
The Cuban Network recently organized the II International Workshop on
Neuroimmunology, which took place in Varadero, Cuba, on June 26 - 30, 2011. I
was extremely glad to have sheared this meeting with the enthusiastic colleagues in
The colleagues in Perú are organizing the I Peruvian Congress and the II
International PsychoNeuroImmunEndocrinology Meeting, under the auspices
of the Faculties of Human Medicine and of Psychology and Humanities, (28-30
Octubre 2011). The link is under construction and should be available at the end
of July (www.appnie.pe). The APPNIE also organized an Actualization Course on
Psychoneuroimmunendocrinology addressed to scientists and students. The Course
started last June and shall regularly run until end of December 2011.
Finally, the Japanese NIM Network is the "youngest" branch recently associated to
I thank all these colleagues for their efforts. I am confident that the ISNIM branches
will contribute to the regional difusion of our field of research, particularly among
NeuroImmunoModulation: Impact Factor 2015
The impact factor of NeuroImmunoModulation, the official Journal of the Society, for the year 2015 is 2.361.
Dr. Maurizio Cutolo: president elect of the European Society of Rheumatology
It is a pleasure to announce that, at the last EULAR Congress in London (May 25-
28 May 2011), Dr. Maurizio Cutolo, member of the ISNIM Executive Committee, has
been elected President of the European Society of Rheumatology.
All ISNIM Congresses since the foundation of the Society are listed below:
- 1st International ISNIM Congress: Florence, Italy, May 23-26, 1990
- 2nd International ISNIM Congress: Paestum, Italy, September 12-17 1993
- 3rd International ISNIM Congress: Bethesda, USA, November 13-15 , 1996
- 4th International ISNIM Congress: Lugano, Switzerland, September 29-October 2, 1999
- 5th International ISNIM Congress: Montpellier, France, September 9-11, 2002
- 6th International ISNIM Congress: Athens, Greece, 26-28 September 2005
- 7th International ISNIM Congress: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 24-27 April 2008
- 8th International ISNIM Congress: Dresden, Germany, 20-22 October 2011
- 9th International ISNIM Congress: Liège, Belgium, 25-27 September 2014
The 10th International ISNIM Congress will take place in Rome, Italy, 25-28 May 2017.
Proceedings of ISNIM International Congresses
All Proceedings of the ISNIM Congresses have been published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, USA. Additionally, papers presented at the Congresses or further related comments have been published in other journals.
1) Proceedings of the 1st. International ISNIM Congress:
Ontogenetic and Phylogenetic Mechanisms of Neuroimmunomodulation. From Molecular Biology to Psychosocial Sciences
Ann N Y Acad Sci 650:1-369, 1992
Additional publication related to the 1st. ISNIM Congress:
Papers presented at the 1st. International Congress of the International Society for Neuroimmunomodulation (ISNIM). Florence, Italy, May 23-26, 1990.
Int J Neurosci. 59:1-211, 1991
2) Proceedings of the 2nd. International ISNIM Congress: Neuroimmunomodulation: the State of the Art
Ann N Y Acad Sci 741: 1-364, 1994
3) Proceedings of the 3rd. International ISNIM Congress Neuroimmunomodulation: Molecular Aspects, Integrative Systems, and Clinical Advances
Ann N Y Acad Sci 840:1-866, 1998
4) Proceedings of the 4th. International ISNIM Congress
Neuroimmunomodulation: perspectives at the new millennium
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 917:1-987, 2000
Additional publication related to the 4th. ISNIM Congress:
Congress Report: International Congress of Neuroimmunomodulation, ISNIM-99.
Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 20:335-342, 1999
Conti A, Maestroni GJ.
5) Proceedings of the 5th. International ISNIM Congress
Neuroendocrine and Neural Regulation of Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disease: Molecular, Systems, and Clinical Insights
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 992:1-987, 2003
6) Proceedings of the 6th. International ISNIM Congress
Neuroendocrine and Immune Cross talk
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1088: 1-412, 2006
7) Proceedings of the 7th. International ISNIM Congress Neuroimmunomodulation: from fundamental biology to therapy
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1153: 1-274, 2009.
8) Proceedings of the 8th. International ISNIM Congress: Neuroimmunomodulation in Health and Disease I: Basic Science Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1261, 2012, Neuroimmunomodulation in Health and Disease II: Translational Science
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1262, 2012.
9) Proceedings of the 9th. International ISNIM Congress:
Neuroimmunomodulation in Health and Disease
Ann N Y Acad Sci 1351, 2015.
ISNIM Regional Branches
by Hugo O. Besedovsky
In the last years, I have encouraged the formation of regional branches and established links with already existing Clubs, Networks, or Societies in different countries that shear the same scientific interest of our Society, with the scope that they form part of the ISNIM, although each keeping their autonomy. This policy, which was already contemplated in the Bylaws of the Society, aims at facilitating the communication between scientists interested in basic and clinical aspects of interactions between the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. A regional branch would be of particular interest for those colleagues who, mainly due to economical reasons, cannot regularly participate at International Congresses. The incorporation of these regional branches was conceived as an amplificatory way for the diffusion of our field and served as basis for the organization of symposia, meetings and other events relatively restricted to a given country or region. Thanks to these branches, we count with several hundreds of e-mail addresses of colleagues registered in the mailing list that can be contacted. This is a relevant issue considering the multidisciplinary nature of NIM that implies, besides the particular scientific expertise of colleagues, the implementation of multiple of methods and techniques necessary to approach neuro-immuno-endocrine interactions during health an disease.
Some examples of the activity of ISNIM regional Branches are given in the following.
The German-Endocrine-Brain-Immune Network (GEBIN) was the first branch formally affiliated with ISNIM in November 2006, and is at present represented by Volker Stefansky and Harald Engler. The GEBIN is an extremely active network and the last two (very successful) meetings took place in Frankfurt, in 2007, and in Essen, in 2009. These meetings had an average of 100 participants and were preceded by an Educational Course that had been organized, as always since 2003, by Adriana del Rey. Rainer Straub and Manfred Schedlowski, in agreement with the rest of the Steering Committee, have written a position paper of the GEBIN concerning the interdisciplinary biomedical research in Germany that can be found at www.gebin.org.
I am extremely glad that the 8th. International ISNIM Congress in Dresden, Germany, in 2011 will be organized in association with GEBIN.
The Mexican branch, represented by Jorge Morales-Montor, had already organized two meetings. The first was organized in October 2008, in Aguas Calientes, Mexico, and the second in March 2010, in Iztapalapa, Mexico. Several aspects of NIM have been covered in these meetings, with special emphasis on the most interestingly topic of neuro-endocrine components of parasitic diseases.
In 2005, Wilson Savino organized the I Iberoamerican NIM Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was followed by the II Iberoamerican NIM Congress in Madrid, Spain, in 2007, and was organized by Monica De La Fuente, representant of the NIM Spanish Branch. The Proceedings of the meeting have been published in NeuroImmunoModulation, the official journal of the Society (Vol. 14, No. 3-4, 2007). With the auspices of ISNIM, the Argentine NIM Branch, represented by Claudia Perez-Leiros, organized the III NIM Iberoamerican Congress in Buenos Aires, in 2009. The Proceedings of this meeting have also been published in NeuroImmunoModulation (Vol.17, No. 3, 2010), and a report of this meeting can be found below.
A new IberoAmerican Meeting is being planned for 2011.
I am also very glad that the Canadian Branch, represented by Istvan Berczi, has join ISNIM.
It is expected that another branch will be created by the colleagues in Cuba, during the Congress they are organizing for 2011 (see ISNIM Sponsored Events).
Colleagues in Japan, Brazil, Italy, and USA have announced their intention to create the respective ISNIM Branches in their countries. I hope this can be concretize soon.
A report of the last Iberoamerican NIM Meeting in Buenos Aires
by Claudia Perez-Leiros
About Buenos Aires 2009 III Iberoamerican NIM Meeting
The last Iberoamerican Congress of Neuroimmunomodulation held in Buenos Aires in 2009 fostered a new opportunity to tackle hot topics of this discipline during the three day conference. Moreover, this third meeting aimed at consolidating the Iberoamerican NIM Network created a few years ago by a group of ISNIM members and highly qualified by top research participants as well as by the previous Iberoamerican meetings in Rio and Madrid.
The program focused on the immune-neuro-endocrine mechanisms involved in the maintenance of homeostasis and the putative links between the loss of homeostatic control and the development of several disease states with a neuroimmune imprint.
More than 200 scientists from Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States met at the National Library for the opening lectures and ceremony chaired by Dr. Valeria Rettori, who welcomed the assistants and kindly invited them to participate actively throughout. On the following days, lectures and symposia alternated with poster sessions during which young scientists -most of them enrolled in PhD programs- had the opportunity to discuss their results on basic and clinical research in the integrative framework of Neuroimmunomodulation.
The main topics approached by invited speakers concerned, on one side, the immune-neuro-endocrine modulation of normal homeostatic circuits as those involved in metabolism, T cell migration, and neuronal plasticity by cytokines, chemokines, and semaphorins. This issue was deeply overviewed by Dr. Besedovsky and Dr. Savino´s conferences. Symposia on the neuroprotective effects of progesterone for spinal cord injury; the modulation of pregnancy by endocannabinoid system, oxytocin and vasopressin; and the homeostatic balance within the immune system provided by lectins and neuropeptides completed this series.
The following series of lectures and symposia approached the notion that neuro-endocrine dysregulation underlies autoimmune, rheumatic and infectious diseases with thorough and florid evidence provided by human disease models and clinical data. Among them, results describing a stress-induced neuroimmune substrate operating in rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, neuromyelitis optica and several infections were presented.
The final group of talks dealt with neuro-immune inputs in cognitive disorders, stress, neurodegeneration and ageing, and most work especially pointed to disease imprints and biomarker exploration based on a more deep knowledge of their pathophysiology.
The invitation made at the closing ceremony by the organizers Drs. Valeria Rettori, Eduardo Arzt, Claudia Pérez Leirós and Flavia Saravia to join the next Iberoamerican Meeting is renewed here and, in the meantime, readers are invited to browse a compact overview of the Buenos Aires Meeting program as a Special Issue of NeuroImmunoModulation (Vol.17; No. 3, 2010).
NeuroImmunoModulation: the official Journal of the Society
Dr. Wilson Savino from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was appointed as Editor of NeuroImmunoModulation in August 2007. Adriana del Rey joint him as Associate Editor beginning 2008.
The impact factor of the Journal increased from 1.212 in 2008 to 2.034 in 2009, and 2.642 in 2010.
In Memoriam: Samuel McDonald McCann, M.D., and John Strimas, M.D.
ISNIM members will be particularly saddened to learn of the death of ‘Don’ McCann, a founder of ISNIM, on 16 March 2007 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. An obituary by another founder of ISNIM, Dr. James Lipton, is located on the NIM journal site in Vol 14, No. 1.
The II Iberoamerican Congress on NeuroImmunoModulation, held in Madrid, Spain, shortly after his death, was dedicated to his memory. The article "From Neuroendocrinology to Neuroimmunomodulation: A tribute to Prof. Dr. Samuel McCann" by Stefan Bornstein, has been published in NIM (14:122-125,2007). Don founded the journal in 1994, together with J.M. Lipton.
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