Meningeal macrophages in the front line against neuro-infections ⋅ Inserm, From science to health

To study cerebral immunity, researchers have become accustomed to administering infectious agents directly into the brain. At the Marseille Luminy Immunology Center, the team Inserm by Réjane Rua shows that the first stages are actually played out upstream, at the level of the brain. THE macrophages capture certain infectious agents there and effectively eliminate them, even before they enter the brain.

Réjane Rua’s team has been working for a long time with the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (CMLV), a pathogen that induces potentially fatal brain infections. To study the infectious mechanisms and the immune defenses activated by the host, she used to inject the virus into the heart of the mouse brain. But this strategy does not take into account the natural course of the infection: before entering it, the virus must first cross the membranes that surround the brain. The team therefore considered that it was time to take a closer look at the role played by these structures, called meninges, in the event of infection.

Vascular network (in cyan) and meningeal macrophages (in red and yellow) of the pia mater, the deepest meninge that directly surrounds the brain. To know more