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Immunological Function of the Blood-Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier

James A. Nathanson and Linda L. Y. Chun
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 86, No. 5 (Mar. 1, 1989), pp. 1684-1688
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/33264
Page Count: 5
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Immunological Function of the Blood-Cerebrospinal Fluid Barrier
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Abstract

Because the brain lacks a true lymphatic system, it is unclear how peripheral lymphocytes recognize foreign antigens present in the central nervous system. This report demonstrates that the choroid plexus, which constitutes the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier, is able to present foreign antigen to, and stimulate the proliferation of, peripheral helper T lymphocytes through an Ia-dependent, major histocompatibility complex-restricted mechanism. Furthermore, in vivo, choroid plexus epithelial cells have access to, and are capable of taking up, virus-sized particles injected elsewhere into the cerebrospinal fluid. Thus these data suggest that the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier may play a role in immunological communication between the central nervous system and periphery, a function relevant to the initiation of immunological responses to central nervous system infections and autoimmune processes and for the surveillance of tumor cells in the cerebrospinal fluid.

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