Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major public health issue, producing significant patient mortality and poor long-Term outcomes. Increasing evidence suggests an important, yet poorly defined, role for the immune system in the development of secondary neurologic injury over the days and weeks following a TBI. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that peripheral macrophage infiltration initiates long-lasting adaptive immune responses after TBI. Using a murine controlled cortical impact model, we used adoptive transfer, transgenic, and bone marrow chimera approaches to show increased infiltration and proinflammatory (classically activated [M1]) polarization of macrophages for up to 3 wk post-TBI. Monocytes purified from the injured brain stimulated the proliferation of naive T lymphocytes, enhanced the polarization of T effector cells (TH1/TH17), and decreased the production of regulatory T cells in an MLR. Similarly, elevated T effector cell polarization within blood and brain tissue was attenuated by myeloid cell depletion after TBI. Functionally, C3H/HeJ (TLR4 mutant) mice reversed M1 macrophage and TH1/TH17 polarization after TBI compared with C3H/OuJ (wild-Type) mice. Moreover, brain monocytes isolated from C3H/HeJ mice were less potent stimulators of T lymphocyte proliferation and TH1/TH17 polarization compared with C3H/OuJ monocytes. Taken together, our data implicate TLR4-dependent, M1 macrophage trafficking/polarization into the CNS as a key mechanistic link between acute TBI and long-Term, adaptive immune responses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy