Neuronal control of fascia

The fascia is the largest tissue in the body, yet most of us never heard of it. This connective tissue delineates the skin, surrounds muscles, and closely envelops all organs. Clinically, it is mainly considered a mechanical barrier separating organs and muscles. But why should a simple barrier be populated with immune cells and receive extensive innervation by sensory and sympathetic neurons?

Here we propose that the fascia generates a sensory platform that detects damage to the tissues it envelops and communicates this information to the brain, which in turn, initiates corrective programs and modulates immune activity. Our preliminary results support this hypothesis indicating that chronic depression in mice and direct optogenetic activation of sympathetic fascia innervations induce immune changes in the fascia.

NEUROFASCIA has the potential to transform our understanding of brain-immune communication and open new therapeutic avenues for disease such as myofascial pain syndrome, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia, which are accompanied by low-grade inflammation and altered fascia innervation.

Max ERC Funding

2 000 000 €


Start date: 2023-07-01, End date: 2028-06-30