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Distribution of nerve fibers and nerve-immune cell association in mouse spleen revealed by immunofluorescent staining

Hu, D., Al-Shalan, H.A.M., Shi, Z., Wang, P., Wu, Y., Nicholls, P.K.ORCID: 0000-0001-7071-3055, Greene, W.K. and Ma, B. (2020) Distribution of nerve fibers and nerve-immune cell association in mouse spleen revealed by immunofluorescent staining. Scientific Reports, 10 (1). Art. 9850.

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The central nervous system regulates the immune system through the secretion of hormones from the pituitary gland and other endocrine organs, while the peripheral nervous system (PNS) communicates with the immune system through local nerve-immune cell interactions, including sympathetic/parasympathetic (efferent) and sensory (afferent) innervation to lymphoid tissue/organs. However, the precise mechanisms of this bi-directional crosstalk of the PNS and immune system remain mysterious. To study this kind of bi-directional crosstalk, we performed immunofluorescent staining of neurofilament and confocal microscopy to reveal the distribution of nerve fibers and nerve-immune cell associations inside mouse spleen. Our study demonstrates (i) extensive nerve fibers in all splenic compartments including the splenic nodules, periarteriolar lymphoid sheath, marginal zones, trabeculae, and red pulp; (ii) close associations of nerve fibers with blood vessels (including central arteries, marginal sinuses, penicillar arterioles, and splenic sinuses); (iii) close associations of nerve fibers with various subsets of dendritic cells, macrophages (Mac1+ and F4/80+), and lymphocytes (B cells, T helper cells, and cytotoxic T cells). Our data concerning the extensive splenic innervation and nerve-immune cell communication will enrich our knowledge of the mechanisms through which the PNS affects the cellular- and humoral-mediated immune responses in healthy and infectious/non-infectious states.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: Medical, Molecular and Forensic Sciences
Publisher: Springer Nature
Copyright: © 2020 Springer Nature Limited
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