Mucosal-associated invariant T cells restrict reactive oxidative damage and preserve meningeal barrier integrity and cognitive function

Nat Immunol. 2022 Dec;23(12):1714-1725. doi: 10.1038/s41590-022-01349-1. Epub 2022 Nov 21.


Increasing evidence indicates close interaction between immune cells and the brain, revising the traditional view of the immune privilege of the brain. However, the specific mechanisms by which immune cells promote normal neural function are not entirely understood. Mucosal-associated invariant T cells (MAIT cells) are a unique type of innate-like T cell with molecular and functional properties that remain to be better characterized. In the present study, we report that MAIT cells are present in the meninges and express high levels of antioxidant molecules. MAIT cell deficiency in mice results in the accumulation of reactive oxidative species in the meninges, leading to reduced expression of junctional protein and meningeal barrier leakage. The presence of MAIT cells restricts neuroinflammation in the brain and preserves learning and memory. Together, our work reveals a new functional role for MAIT cells in the meninges and suggests that meningeal immune cells can help maintain normal neural function by preserving meningeal barrier homeostasis and integrity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Meninges
  • Mice
  • Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cells*
  • Oxidative Stress