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Perinatal infection and inflammation are major risk factors for injury in the developing brain, however, underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Leukocyte migration to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain is a hallmark of many pathologies of the central nervous system including those in neonates. We previously reported that systemic activation of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, a major receptor for gram-positive bacteria, by agonist Pam3CSK4 (P3C) resulted in dramatic neutrophil and monocyte infiltration to the CSF and periventricular brain of neonatal mice, an effect that was absent by the TLR4 agonist, LPS. Here we first report that choroid plexus is a route of TLR2-mediated leukocyte infiltration to the CSF by performing flow cytometry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of the choroid plexus. Next, we exploited the striking discrepancy between P3C and LPS effects on cell migration to determine the pathways regulating leukocyte trafficking through the choroid plexus. We performed RNA sequencing on the choroid plexus after administration of P3C and LPS to postnatal day 8 mice. A cluster gene analysis revealed a TLR2-specific signature of chemotaxis represented by 80-fold increased expression of the gene Ccl3 and 1000-fold increased expression of the gene Cxcl2. Ingenuity pathway analysis (IPA) revealed TLR2-specific molecular signaling related to cytoskeleton organization (e.g. actin signaling) as well as inositol phospholipids biosynthesis and degradation. This included upregulation of genes such as Rac2 and Micall2. In support of IPA results, ultrastructural analysis by TEM revealed clefting and perforations in the basement membrane of the choroid plexus epithelial cells in P3C-treated mice. In summary, we show that the choroid plexus is a route of TLR2-mediated transmigration of neutrophils and monocytes to the developing brain, and reveal previously unrecognized mechanisms that includes a specific chemotaxis profile as well as pathways regulating cytoskeleton and basement membrane remodeling.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Behav Immun

Publication Date





216 - 227


Basement membrane, Choroid plexus, Cytoskeleton, Infection, Inflammation, Inositol, Leukocyte migration, Micall2, Remodeling, Toll-like receptor, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Brain, Cell Movement, Central Nervous System, Chemotaxis, Choroid Plexus, Cytoskeleton, Flow Cytometry, Inflammation, Leukocytes, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Microscopy, Electron, Transmission, Monocytes, Neutrophils, Toll-Like Receptor 2, Transcriptome