Meningeal lymphoid structures are activated under acute and chronic spinal cord pathologies

Merav Cohen, Amir Giladi, Catarina Raposo, Mor Zada, Baoguo Li, Julia Ruckh, Aleksandra Deczkowska, Boaz Mohar, Ravid Shechter, Rachel G. Lichtenstein, Ido Amit, Michal Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) are organized aggregates of B and T cells formed ectopically during different stages of life in response to inflammation, infection, or cancer. Here, we describe formation of structures reminiscent of TLS in the spinal cord meninges under several central nervous system (CNS) pathologies. After acute spinal cord injury, B and T lymphocytes locally aggregate within the meninges to form TLS-like structures, and continue to accumulate during the late phase of the response to the injury, with a negative impact on subsequent pathological conditions, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Using a chronic model of spinal cord pathology, the mSOD1 mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, we further showed by single-cell RNA-sequencing that a meningeal lymphocyte niche forms, with a unique organization and activation state, including accumulation of pre-B cells in the spinal cord meninges. Such a response was not found in the CNS-draining cervical lymph nodes. The present findings suggest that a special immune response develops in the meninges during various neurological pathologies in the CNS, a possible reflection of its immune privileged nature.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202000907
JournalLife Science Alliance
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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