For decades, several axioms have prevailed with respect to the relationships between the CNS and circulating immune cells. Specifically, immune cell entry was largely considered to be pathological or to mark the beginning of pathology within the brain. Moreover, local inflammation associated with neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer's disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, were considered similar in their etiology to inflammatory diseases, such as remitting relapsing-multiple sclerosis. The ensuing confusion reflected a lack of awareness that the etiology of the disease as well as the origin of the immune cells determines the nature of the inflammatory response, and that inflammation resolution is an active cellular process. The last two decades have seen a revolution in these prevailing dogmas, with a significant contribution made by the authors. Microglia and infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages are now known to be functionally distinct and of separate origin. Innate and adaptive immune cells are now known to have protective/healing properties in the CNS, as long as their activity is regulated, and their recruitment is well controlled; their role is appreciated in maintenance of brain plasticity in health, aging, and chronic neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, it is now understood that the barriers of the brain are not uniform in their interactions with the circulating immune cells. The implications of these new findings to the basic understanding of CNSrepair processes, brain aging, and a wide spectrum of CNSdisorders, including acute injuries, Rett syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis, will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17587-17596
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
StatePublished - 2013


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