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Nature. 2015 Jul 16;523(7560):337-41. doi: 10.1038/nature14432. Epub 2015 Jun 1.

Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels.

Author information

1
1] Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [2] Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
2
1] Medical Scientist Training Program, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [2] Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [3] Department of Medicine (Division of Allergy), School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
3
1] Medical Scientist Training Program, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [2] Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [3] Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
4
Department of Cell Biology, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
5
Department of Pathology (Neuropathology), School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
6
1] Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [2] Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [3] Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.
7
1] Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [2] Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA [3] Medical Scientist Training Program, School of Medicine, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.

Abstract

One of the characteristics of the central nervous system is the lack of a classical lymphatic drainage system. Although it is now accepted that the central nervous system undergoes constant immune surveillance that takes place within the meningeal compartment, the mechanisms governing the entrance and exit of immune cells from the central nervous system remain poorly understood. In searching for T-cell gateways into and out of the meninges, we discovered functional lymphatic vessels lining the dural sinuses. These structures express all of the molecular hallmarks of lymphatic endothelial cells, are able to carry both fluid and immune cells from the cerebrospinal fluid, and are connected to the deep cervical lymph nodes. The unique location of these vessels may have impeded their discovery to date, thereby contributing to the long-held concept of the absence of lymphatic vasculature in the central nervous system. The discovery of the central nervous system lymphatic system may call for a reassessment of basic assumptions in neuroimmunology and sheds new light on the aetiology of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases associated with immune system dysfunction.

PMID:
26030524
PMCID:
PMC4506234
DOI:
10.1038/nature14432
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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