Astrocyte- and Neuron-Derived CXCL1 Drives Neutrophil Transmigration and Blood-Brain Barrier Permeability in Viral Encephalitis


Michael BD, Bricio-Moreno L, Sorensen EW, Miyabe Y, Lian J, Solomon T, Kurt-Jones EA., Luster AD


Herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 encephalitis has significant morbidity partly because of an over-exuberant immune response characterized by leukocyte infiltration into the brain and increased blood-brain barrier (BBB) permeability. Determining the role of specific leukocyte subsets and the factors that mediate their recruitment into the brain is critical to developing targeted immune therapies. In a murine model, we find that the chemokines CXCL1 and CCL2 are induced in the brain following HSV-1 infection. Ccr2 (CCL2 receptor)-deficient mice have reduced monocyte recruitment, uncontrolled viral replication, and increased morbidity. Contrastingly, Cxcr2 (CXCL1 receptor)-deficient mice exhibit markedly reduced neutrophil recruitment, BBB permeability, and morbidity, without influencing viral load. CXCL1 is produced by astrocytes in response to HSV-1 and by astrocytes and neurons in response to IL-1α, and it is the critical ligand required for neutrophil transendothelial migration, which correlates with BBB breakdown. Thus, the CXCL1-CXCR2 axis represents an attractive therapeutic target to limit neutrophil-mediated morbidity in HSV-1 encephalitis.


Cell Reports