Menu

Immunity in the Brain

Researchers document the diverse roles of immune cells in neuronal health and disease.

Oct 31, 2016
Amanda B. Keener

© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until recently, the central nervous system (CNS) was thought to be cordoned off from the peripheral immune system, reliant only on its resident immune cells called microglia. Peripheral immune-cell breaches anywhere in the CNS were considered signs of disease. But researchers now know that diverse immune cells—possibly by the millions—circulate in the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) and live in the brain’s outer membranes even in healthy individuals.

© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC

© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC

 

IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH

The immune system is a critical part of a functioning central nervous system (CNS), even in the absence of injury. But most immune cells are largely relegated to the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF), the brain’s meninges, and the epithelium of the choroid plexus. When the CNS experiences a major insult, however, immune cells join microglia in the parenchyma.

© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC © 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC
CD4+ T cells in the meningeal lining produce IL-4 cytokine, which prevents nearby macrophages from making proinflammatory molecules. If left unchecked, such proinflammatory signaling blocks a protein that astrocytes in the parenchyma need to support learning and memory. Neutrophils and macrophages migrate to the edge of the meninges, but don’t enter the parenchyma. Macrophages clear dead cell debris. Neutrophils are also helpful for resolving injury, though it’s not yet clear how. Microglia fill in spaces left by damaged or dead astrocytes to seal a leaky blood-brain barrier.

 

© 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC © 2016 TERESE WINSLOW LLC
Immunosuppressive signals from far off regulatory T cells (Tregs) reduce IFNγ signaling. This blocks normal trafficking of monocyte and CD4+ T cells from the blood and stroma to the cerebral-spinal fluid (CSF). Memory T cells ramp up production of IFNγ, which facilitates the migration of CD4+ helper T?cells and monocytes from the blood and stroma into the CSF-filled ventricle, where they can access the site of injury.

 

Read the full story.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Releases First FDA-Cleared Digital PCR System and Test for Monitoring Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Treatment Response
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb), a global leader of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, today announced that its QXDx AutoDG ddPCR System, which uses Bio-Rad’s Droplet Digital PCR technology, and the QXDx BCR-ABL %IS Kit are the industry’s first digital PCR products to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. Used together, Bio-Rad’s system and kit can precisely and reproducibly monitor molecular response to treatment in patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.