The recently discovered meningeal lymphatic vessels (mLVs) have been proposed to be the missing link between the immune and the central nervous system. The role of mLVs in modulating the neuro-immune response following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), however, has not been analyzed. Parenchymal T lymphocyte infiltration has been previously reported as part of secondary events after TBI, suggestive of an adaptive neuro-immune response. The phenotype of these cells has remained mostly uncharacterized. In this study, we identified subpopulations of T cells infiltrating the perilesional areas 30 days post-injury (an early-chronic time point). Furthermore, we analyzed how the lack of mLVs affects the magnitude and the type of T cell response in the brain after TBI.
TBI was induced in K14-VEGFR3-Ig transgenic (TG) mice or in their littermate controls (WT; wild type), applying a controlled cortical impact (CCI). One month after TBI, T cells were isolated from cortical areas ipsilateral or contralateral to the trauma and from the spleen, then characterized by flow cytometry. Lesion size in each animal was evaluated by MRI.
In both WT and TG-CCI mice, we found a prominent T cell infiltration in the brain confined to the perilesional cortex and hippocampus. The majority of infiltrating T cells were cytotoxic CD8+ expressing a CD44(hi)CD69+ phenotype, suggesting that these are effector resident memory T cells. K14-VEGFR3-Ig mice showed a significant reduction of infiltrating CD4+ T lymphocytes, suggesting that mLVs could be involved in establishing a proper neuro-immune response. Extension of the lesion (measured as lesion volume from MRI) did not differ between the genotypes. Finally, TBI did not relate to alterations in peripheral circulating T cells, as assessed one month after injury.
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that mLVs are involved in the neuro-immune response after TBI. We also defined the resident memory CD8+ T cells as one of the main population activated within the brain after a traumatic injury.
- 3112 Neurotieteet