Turnover of rat brain perivascular cells

I Bechmann, E Kwidzinski, A D Kovac, E Simbürger, T Horvath, U Gimsa, U Dirnagl, J Priller, R Nitsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Brain perivascular spaces harbor a population of cells which exhibit high phagocytic capacity. Therefore, these cells can be labeled by intraventricular injection of tracers. Such perivascular cells at the interface between blood and brain are believed to belong to the monocyte/macrophage lineage and to be involved in antigen presentation. Currently, it is unclear whether these cells undergo a continuous turnover by entering and leaving the bloodstream. Using bone-marrow-chimeric animals, migration of donor macrophages into brain perivascular spaces has been reported. On the other hand, following intracerebral injection of india ink into nontransplanted animals, ink-labeled perivascular cells were still found 2 years after injection, suggesting a high stability of this cell pool. Thus, the turnover of perivascular cells observed in chimeras might be a result of bone marrow transplantation rather than a physiological occurrence. To address this issue, we monitored de novo invasion of macrophages into perivascular spaces of apparently healthy adult rats by applying techniques other than bone marrow transplantation, (i) consecutive injections of different tracers and (ii) ex vivo isolation of macrophages from the blood, cell labeling, and reinjection into the same animal to avoid MHC mismatch. Both approaches revealed vivid de novo invasion of macrophages into perivascular spaces, but not into brain parenchyma, rendering untenable the concept of perivascular cells forming a stable population of macrophages in the brain. Thus, brain perivascular spaces are under permanent immune surveillance of blood borne macrophages in normal adult rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-9
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2001


  • Animals
  • Basement Membrane
  • Brain
  • Cell Movement
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Macrophages
  • Oligodendroglia
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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