Drainage of inflammatory macromolecules from the brain to periphery targets the liver for macrophage infiltration

Elife. 2020 Jul 31;9:e58191. doi: 10.7554/eLife.58191.


Many brain pathologies are associated with liver damage, but a direct link has long remained elusive. Here, we establish a new paradigm for interrogating brain-periphery interactions by leveraging zebrafish for its unparalleled access to the intact whole animal for in vivo analysis in real time after triggering focal brain inflammation. Using traceable lipopolysaccharides (LPS), we reveal that drainage of these inflammatory macromolecules from the brain led to a strikingly robust peripheral infiltration of macrophages into the liver independent of Kupffer cells. We further demonstrate that this macrophage recruitment requires signaling from the cytokine IL-34 and Toll-like receptor adaptor MyD88, and occurs in coordination with neutrophils. These results highlight the possibility for circulation of brain-derived substances to serve as a rapid mode of communication from brain to the liver. Understanding how the brain engages the periphery at times of danger may offer new perspectives for detecting and treating brain pathologies.

Keywords: brain drainage; immunology; inflammation; kupffer cells; liver infiltration; macrophage; neuroscience; neutrophils; zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / immunology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology*
  • Liver / immunology*
  • Macrophages / physiology*
  • Zebrafish / immunology
  • Zebrafish / physiology*