CNS lymphatic drainage and neuroinflammation are regulated by meningeal lymphatic vasculature.

Research paper by Antoine A Louveau, Jasmin J Herz, Maria Nordheim MN Alme, Andrea Francesca AF Salvador, Michael Q MQ Dong, Kenneth E KE Viar, S Grace SG Herod, James J Knopp, Joshua C JC Setliff, Alexander L AL Lupi, Sandro S Da Mesquita, Elizabeth L EL Frost, Alban A Gaultier, Tajie H TH Harris, Rui R Cao, et al.

Indexed on: 19 Sep '18Published on: 19 Sep '18Published in: Nature Neuroscience


Neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, are characterized by invasion of the brain by autoreactive T cells. The mechanism for how T cells acquire their encephalitogenic phenotype and trigger disease remains, however, unclear. The existence of lymphatic vessels in the meninges indicates a relevant link between the CNS and peripheral immune system, perhaps affecting autoimmunity. Here we demonstrate that meningeal lymphatics fulfill two critical criteria: they assist in the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid components and enable immune cells to enter draining lymph nodes in a CCR7-dependent manner. Unlike other tissues, meningeal lymphatic endothelial cells do not undergo expansion during inflammation, and they express a unique transcriptional signature. Notably, the ablation of meningeal lymphatics diminishes pathology and reduces the inflammatory response of brain-reactive T cells during an animal model of multiple sclerosis. Our findings demonstrate that meningeal lymphatics govern inflammatory processes and immune surveillance of the CNS and pose a valuable target for therapeutic intervention.