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SCSB Lunch Series: Social exposure to sickness enhances resilience to infection

April 5 | 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Date: Friday, April 5,  2024
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Location: Simons Center Conference room 46-6011 + Zoom Meeting (https://mit.zoom.us/j/98747295231)

Speaker: Tomoe Ishikawa, Ph.D.
Affiliation: Simons Postdoctoral Fellow, Choi Lab, Picower Institute, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

Talk title: Social exposure to sickness enhances resilience to infection

Abstract: Animals change their social engagement based on the health status of their conspecifics to minimize infectious risk. However, it remains unclear whether animals also adjust their own immune status by detecting sick individuals. We have found that prior exposure to sick cagemates alleviates symptoms induced by viral and bacterial infections. This indicates that animals have a proactive immune response upon detecting sickness in their conspecifics. Furthermore, we demonstrated that exposure to sick animals activates an amygdala nucleus, and chemogenetic activation of this amygdala nucleus is sufficient to mitigate signs induced by viral and bacterial infections. These findings suggest that neuroimmune interactions activated by the detection of sick conspecifics modulate the immune system to better cope with subsequent pathogenic infections.


April 5
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


Simons Center Conference Room, Bldg. 46, Room 6011
43 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA 02139 United States
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Simons Center for the Social Brain