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Leukocyte invasion of the brain after peripheral trauma in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Chen XK, Kwan JS, Wong GT, Yi ZN, Ma AC, Chang RC
Exp Mol Med. 2022 Jul;54(7):973-987. doi: 10.1038/s12276-022-00801-4. Epub 2022 Jul 13
Despite well-known systemic immune reactions in peripheral trauma, little is known about their roles in posttraumatic neurological disorders, such as anxiety, sickness, and cognitive impairment. Leukocyte invasion of the brain, a common denominator of systemic inflammation, is involved in neurological disorders that occur in peripheral inflammatory diseases, whereas the influences of peripheral leukocytes on the brain after peripheral trauma remain largely unclear. In this study, we found that leukocytes, largely macrophages, transiently invaded the brain of zebrafish larvae after peripheral trauma through vasculature-independent migration, which was a part of the systemic inflammation and was mediated by interleukin-1b (il1b). Notably, myeloid cells in the brain that consist of microglia and invading macrophages were implicated in posttraumatic anxiety-like behaviors, such as hyperactivity (restlessness) and thigmotaxis (avoidance), while a reduction in systemic inflammation or myeloid cells can rescue these behaviors. In addition, invading leukocytes together with microglia were found to be responsible for the clearance of apoptotic cells in the brain; however, they also removed the nonapoptotic cells, which suggested that phagocytes have dual roles in the brain after peripheral trauma. More importantly, a category of conserved proteins between zebrafish and humans or rodents that has been featured in systemic inflammation and neurological disorders was determined in the zebrafish brain after peripheral trauma, which supported that zebrafish is a translational model of posttraumatic neurological disorders. These findings depicted leukocyte invasion of the brain during systemic inflammation after peripheral trauma and its influences on the brain through il1b-dependent mechanisms.
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