The peripheral nervous system (PNS) endows animals with the remarkable ability to sense and respond to a dynamic world. Emerging evidence shows the PNS also participates in tissue homeostasis and repair by integrating local changes with organismal and environmental changes. Here, we provide an in-depth summary of findings delineating the diverse roles of peripheral nerves in modulating stem cell behaviors and immune responses under steady-state conditions and in response to injury and duress, with a specific focus on the skin and the hematopoietic system. These examples showcase how elucidating neuro-stem cell and neuro-immune cell interactions provides a conceptual framework that connects tissue biology and local immunity with systemic bodily changes to meet varying demands. They also demonstrate how changes in these interactions can manifest in stress, aging, cancer, and inflammation, as well as how these findings can be harnessed to guide the development of new therapeutics.

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Photo of Ya-Chieh Hsu

Ya-Chieh Hsu studies the principles and molecular nature of cell-cell interactions governing development, regeneration, and injury repair in the skin.

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