Insect behavioral change and the potential contributions of neuroinflammation—a call for future research

Colleen A. Mangold, David P. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Many organisms are able to elicit behavioral change in other organisms. Examples include different microbes (e.g., viruses and fungi), parasites (e.g., hairworms and trematodes), and parasitoid wasps. In most cases, the mechanisms underlying host behavioral change remain relatively unclear. There is a growing body of literature linking alterations in immune signaling with neuron health, communication, and function; however, there is a paucity of data detailing the effects of altered neuroimmune signaling on insect neuron function and how glial cells may contribute toward neuron dysregulation. It is important to consider the potential impacts of altered neuroimmune communication on host behavior and reflect on its potential role as an important tool in the “neuro-engineer” toolkit. In this review, we examine what is known about the relationships between the insect immune and nervous systems. We highlight organisms that are able to influence insect behavior and discuss possible mechanisms of behavioral manipulation, including potentially dysregulated neuroimmune communication. We close by identifying opportunities for integrating research in insect innate immunity, glial cell physiology, and neurobiology in the investigation of behavioral manipulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number465
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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