Despite much research on the insect immune system, hormonal regulation of its activity is not well-understood. Previous research on insect neuroendocrinology suggests that neuropeptides may play an important role in the regulation of the insect immune system. Especially recent studies dealing for example with adipokinetic hormones, bursicon or insulin-like peptides provided deeper insights on this issue showing that neuropeptides can modulate various aspects of insect immune responses, both at the molecular and cellular level.
The presented review summarizes the current knowledge about the role of neuropeptides regulating the insect immune system activity. Based on structural and functional homology of some vertebrate and insect neuropeptide families, several propositions of insect neuropeptides that might also possess immunotropic activities, but have not been examined for this aspect, are discussed.