CCR2 deficiency alters activation of microglia subsets in traumatic brain injury

Cell Rep. 2021 Sep 21;36(12):109727. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109727.


In traumatic brain injury (TBI), a diversity of brain resident and peripherally derived myeloid cells have the potential to worsen damage and/or to assist in healing. We define the heterogeneity of microglia and macrophage phenotypes during TBI in wild-type (WT) mice and Ccr2-/- mice, which lack macrophage influx following TBI and are resistant to brain damage. We use unbiased single-cell RNA sequencing methods to uncover 25 microglia, monocyte/macrophage, and dendritic cell subsets in acute TBI and normal brains. We find alterations in transcriptional profiles of microglia subsets in Ccr2-/- TBI mice compared to WT TBI mice indicating that infiltrating monocytes/macrophages influence microglia activation to promote a type I IFN response. Preclinical pharmacological blockade of hCCR2 after injury reduces expression of IFN-responsive gene, Irf7, and improves outcomes. These data extend our understanding of myeloid cell diversity and crosstalk in brain trauma and identify therapeutic targets in myeloid subsets.

Keywords: CCR2; dendritic cells; innate immunity; macrophages; microglia; monocytes; neuroinflammation; single-cell RNA sequencing; traumatic brain injury; type I IFN.