Microglia drive transient insult-induced brain injury by chemotactic recruitment of CD8+ T lymphocytes

Neuron. 2023 Mar 1;111(5):696-710.e9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2022.12.009. Epub 2023 Jan 4.


The crosstalk between the nervous and immune systems has gained increasing attention for its emerging role in neurological diseases. Radiation-induced brain injury (RIBI) remains the most common medical complication of cranial radiotherapy, and its pathological mechanisms have yet to be elucidated. Here, using single-cell RNA and T cell receptor sequencing, we found infiltration and clonal expansion of CD8+ T lymphocytes in the lesioned brain tissues of RIBI patients. Furthermore, by strategies of genetic or pharmacologic interruption, we identified a chemotactic action of microglia-derived CCL2/CCL8 chemokines in mediating the infiltration of CCR2+/CCR5+ CD8+ T cells and tissue damage in RIBI mice. Such a chemotactic axis also participated in the progression of cerebral infarction in the mouse model of ischemic injury. Our findings therefore highlight the critical role of microglia in mediating the dysregulation of adaptive immune responses and reveal a potential therapeutic strategy for non-infectious brain diseases.

Keywords: CD8(+) T cell; chemoattraction; ischemic stroke; microglia; radiation-induced brain injury.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain Injuries* / pathology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Chemokine CCL2 / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microglia* / physiology


  • Chemokine CCL2