Immune Surveillance of the CNS following Infection and Injury

Trends Immunol. 2015 Oct;36(10):637-650. doi: 10.1016/


The central nervous system (CNS) contains a sophisticated neural network that must be constantly surveyed in order to detect and mitigate a diverse array of challenges. The innate and adaptive immune systems actively participate in this surveillance, which is critical for the maintenance of CNS homeostasis and can facilitate the resolution of infections, degeneration, and tissue damage. Infections and sterile injuries represent two common challenges imposed on the CNS that require a prompt immune response. While the inducers of these two challenges differ in origin, the resultant responses orchestrated by the CNS share some overlapping features. Here, we review how the CNS immunologically discriminates between pathogens and sterile injuries, mobilizes an immune reaction, and, ultimately, regulates local and peripherally-derived immune cells to provide a supportive milieu for tissue repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / cytology
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Infections / genetics
  • Central Nervous System Infections / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System Infections / metabolism
  • Chemotaxis, Leukocyte
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / cytology
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Immunologic Surveillance*
  • Neuroimmunomodulation
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / genetics
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / metabolism
  • Trauma, Nervous System / genetics
  • Trauma, Nervous System / immunology*
  • Trauma, Nervous System / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition