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Nat Rev Immunol. 2013 Mar;13(3):206-18. doi: 10.1038/nri3391.

Orchestrated leukocyte recruitment to immune-privileged sites: absolute barriers versus educational gates.

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Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Complex barriers separate immune-privileged tissues from the circulation. Here, we propose that cell entry to immune-privileged sites through barriers composed of tight junction-interconnected endothelium is associated with destructive inflammation, whereas border structures comprised of fenestrated vasculature enveloped by tightly regulated epithelium serve as active and selective immune-skewing gates in the steady state. Based on emerging knowledge of the central nervous system and information from other immune-privileged sites, we propose that these sites are endowed either with absolute endothelial-based barriers and epithelial gates that enable selective and educative transfer of trafficking leukocytes or with selective epithelial gates only.

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