It has recently been demonstrated that central dopaminergic pathways are asymmetrically involved in the modulation of the immune response. Mitogen-induced proliferation of T lymphocytes was shown to be enhanced 4-6 weeks after right lesion of the substantia nigra (SN) in mice, when compared to left lesioned and control animals. In order to study the involvement of post lesion neuronal reorganization in these results, the same immunological parameters were determined as early as 2 weeks after right or left lesion of the SN. We showed that the lymphoproliferation induced by alpha CD3 and concanavalin A was decreased in both lesioned groups, but phytohemagglutinin-induced mitogenesis was more impaired in the right than in the left lesioned animals. Hence, the time course effects of the right lesions of SN shifted from depression to enhancement of the T lymphocyte responsiveness. This shift appeared to occur around the two weeks period following the lesion. These immunomodulatory effects of unilateral SN lesioning, which depended on time and side of lesion, were similar to those observed after hemidecortication. Based on these findings, it is reasonable to suggest that asymmetry in brain immunomodulation involves functionally related dopaminergic and cortical networks.
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