Role of cerebral lateralization in control of immune processes in humans

Ann Neurol. 2004 Jun;55(6):840-4. doi: 10.1002/ana.20105.


Cerebral lateralization may be important in neural control of immune function. Animal studies have demonstrated differential effects of left and right brain lesions on immune function, but human studies are inconclusive. Here, we show that resections in the language dominant hemisphere of patients with epilepsy reduce lymphocytes, total T cells, and helper T cells. In contrast, resections in the language nondominant hemisphere increased the same cellular elements. T-cell responses to mitogens and microbial antigens were not differentially affected. Left/right arm histamine skin response ratios were altered in patients with left cerebral epileptic focus, and flare skin responses were reduced by left cerebral resections in contrast with an increase after right cerebral resections. The findings demonstrate a differential role of the left and right cerebral hemispheres on immune functions in humans.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebral Cortex / immunology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / surgery
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Epilepsy / immunology
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Female
  • Histamine
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Language
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitogens / pharmacology
  • Skin Tests
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology


  • Mitogens
  • Histamine