Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First Evidence Of Native Dendritic Cells In Brain Surprises Scientists

Date:
May 20, 2008
Source:
Rockefeller University
Summary:
In a finding that has the potential to change the way researchers think about the brain, scientists at Rockefeller University have found dendritic cells where they've never been seen before: among this organ's neurons and connective cells. The immunity-directing dendritic cell had previously been seen in the human nervous system only after brain injury or disease. But the new study shows for the first time that the brain has its own, resident population of dendritic cells that may serve as a line of defense against pathogens that sneak past the blood-brain barrier.

Immunity inside. The brain's population of immunity-directing dendritic cells (green and yellow) can be seen here in the subventricular zone -- an area of postnatal neuron development.
Credit: Image courtesy of Rockefeller University

In a finding that has the potential to change the way researchers think about the brain, scientists at Rockefeller University have found dendritic cells where they’ve never been seen before: among this organ’s neurons and connective cells. The immunity-directing dendritic cell had previously been seen in the human nervous system only after brain injury or disease. But the new study shows for the first time that the brain has its own, resident population of dendritic cells that may serve as a line of defense against pathogens that sneak past the blood-brain barrier.

The brain is packed with different types of microglia — cells that perform a variety of immune functions in the central nervous system. Until now, however, no one had identified dendritic cells among them. Research associate professor Karen Bulloch and her colleagues made their discovery using mice bred to have a fluorescent marker attached to a dendritic-cell specific protein. Originally developed by Rockefeller scientists to help them visualize dendritic cells in immune tissues, Bulloch reasoned that the mice might be helpful in determining whether dendritic cells are also in the central nervous system.

Bulloch, who’s spent a lot of time studying microglia, knew exactly where in the brain to look. But what she saw when she first peered through the microscope surprised her so much, she says, “I literally almost fell off my chair.”

Once they had confirmed that the brain seems to develop its own population of dendritic cells, the researchers, with the help of graduate student Melinda Miller, mapped the cells’ locations. “They ended up in places I just didn’t understand,” Bulloch says. So she did a bit of digging and discovered that the protective dendritic cells appeared in areas of the brain associated with postnatal neuron formation, as well as along nasal-associated pathways through which viruses, bacteria and toxic chemicals can gain direct access to the brain. “The dendritic cells serve both as shepherds of newborn nerve cells and as gatekeepers, which police intruding molecules that may come into the brain through these pathways.”

The discovery that some dendritic cells that are native to the brain, rather than just infiltrating during traumatic events, comes with a wide range of implications. “Their location suggests a multiplicity of functions, ranging from surveillance to participation in a number of events in the brain,” says Bruce McEwen, Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology, where the work was conducted. But their position might also be an important factor to consider when evaluating drug administration, since certain vaccines and medications are now given nasally.

“In a way, it’s reassuring that there are cells there monitoring for invaders. On the other hand, it raises questions about the wisdom of that vaccine approach in the first place. The degree to which these drug molecules might alter the immune system of the brain is unknown,” McEwen says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rockefeller University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. CD11c/EYFP transgene illuminates a discrete network of dendritic cells within the embryonic, neonatal, adult, and injured mouse brain. The Journal of Comparative Neurology 508(5): 687-710 (June 10, 2008) DOI: 10.1002/cne.21668 [link]

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University. "First Evidence Of Native Dendritic Cells In Brain Surprises Scientists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519103818.htm>.
Rockefeller University. (2008, May 20). First Evidence Of Native Dendritic Cells In Brain Surprises Scientists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519103818.htm
Rockefeller University. "First Evidence Of Native Dendritic Cells In Brain Surprises Scientists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080519103818.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins