Heterogeneity of meningeal B cells reveals a lymphopoietic niche at the CNS borders

Science. 2021 Jul 23;373(6553):eabf9277. doi: 10.1126/science.abf9277. Epub 2021 Jun 3.


The meninges contain adaptive immune cells that provide immunosurveillance of the central nervous system (CNS). These cells are thought to derive from the systemic circulation. Through single-cell analyses, confocal imaging, bone marrow chimeras, and parabiosis experiments, we show that meningeal B cells derive locally from the calvaria, which harbors a bone marrow niche for hematopoiesis. B cells reach the meninges from the calvaria through specialized vascular connections. This calvarial-meningeal path of B cell development may provide the CNS with a constant supply of B cells educated by CNS antigens. Conversely, we show that a subset of antigen-experienced B cells that populate the meninges in aging mice are blood-borne. These results identify a private source for meningeal B cells, which may help maintain immune privilege within the CNS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • B-Lymphocyte Subsets / physiology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Bone Marrow Cells / physiology*
  • Cell Movement
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Dura Mater / cytology*
  • Dura Mater / immunology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Homeostasis
  • Immune Privilege
  • Lymphopoiesis*
  • Meninges / cytology*
  • Meninges / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Plasma Cells / physiology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Skull / anatomy & histology*