Image of the Day: Brain, Heal Thyself

When a mouse’s brain undergoes traumatic injury, immune cells clear the dead from the affected area, after which blood cells swoop in to repair blood vessels.

Apr 20, 2018
The Scientist Staff

Immune cells help heal the brain’s damaged lining.DORIAN MCGAVERN, NINDS

For the first time, scientists have filmed the brain healing itself. Dorian McGavern, a viral immunologist at the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), and colleagues studied how the brain’s lining, called the meninges, is affected by traumatic injury. They labeled immune cells and observed them swarming around lesions they had made in the meninges of mice. After the immune cells had removed dead cells from the area, blood cells moved in to rebuild damaged blood vessels. The researchers published their findings last week (April 11) in Nature Immunology.

M. Russo et al., “Distinct myeloid cell subsets promote meningeal remodeling and vascular repair after mild traumatic brain injury,” Nature Immunol, doi:10.1038/s41590-018-0086-2, 2018.