Research ArticlePhysiology

Astrocyte-shed extracellular vesicles regulate the peripheral leukocyte response to inflammatory brain lesions

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Sci. Signal.  04 Apr 2017:
Vol. 10, Issue 473, eaai7696
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aai7696

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An astrocyte “call to arms” after brain injury

Brain injuries, such as stroke, physical trauma, and inflammation, stimulate the infiltration of peripheral immune cells that may cause persistent, secondary tissue damage that can impair patient recovery. Using a mouse model of inflammatory brain injury, Dickens et al. found that astrocytes at the site of inflammation released vesicles carrying proteins, RNAs, and microRNAs into the circulation. When these vesicles reached the liver, they stimulated the secretion of cytokines that mobilized peripheral immune cells to infiltrate the brain. Inhibiting this long-range communication between the brain and the liver might accelerate and improve recovery from brain injuries.