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J Immunol. 2006 Dec 1;177(11):8103-10.

A requirement for microglial TLR4 in leukocyte recruitment into brain in response to lipopolysaccharide.

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  • 1Immunology Research Group, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive, Calgary NW, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.


To study the mechanisms involved in leukocyte recruitment induced by local bacterial infection within the CNS, we used intravital microscopy to visualize the interaction between leukocytes and the microvasculature in the brain. First, we showed that intracerebroventricular injection of LPS could cause significant rolling and adhesion of leukocytes in the brain postcapillary venules of wild-type mice, while negligible recruitment was observed in TLR4-deficient C57BL/10ScCr mice and CD14 knockout mice, suggesting recruitment is mediated by TLR4/CD14-bearing cells. Moreover, we observed reduced but not complete inhibition of recruitment in MyD88 knockout mice, indicating both MyD88-dependent and -independent pathways are involved. The leukocyte recruitment responses in chimeric mice with TLR4-positive microglia and endothelium, but TLR4-negative leukocytes, were comparable to normal wild-type mice, suggesting either endothelium or microglia play a crucial role in the induction of leukocyte recruitment. LPS injection induced both microglial and endothelial activation in the CNS. Furthermore, minocycline, an effective inhibitor of microglial activation, completely blocked the rolling and adhesion of leukocytes in the brain and blocked TNF-alpha production in response to LPS in vivo. Minocycline did not affect activation of endothelium by LPS in vitro. TNFR p55/p75 double knockout mice also exhibited significant reductions in both rolling and adhesion in response to LPS, indicating TNF-alpha signaling is critical for the leukocyte recruitment. Our results identify a TLR4 detection system within the blood-brain barrier. The microglia play the role of sentinel cells detecting LPS thereby inducing endothelial activation and leading to efficient leukocyte recruitment to the CNS.

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