Innate immunity in the central nervous system

Richard M. Ransohoff*, Melissa A. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

772 Scopus citations


Immune responses in the CNS are common, despite its perception as a site of immune privilege. These responses can be mediated by resident microglia and astrocytes, which are innate immune cells without direct counterparts in the periphery. Furthermore, CNS immune reactions often take place in virtual isolation from the innate/adaptive immune interplay that characterizes peripheral immunity. However, microglia and astrocytes also engage in significant cross-talk with CNS-infiltrating T cells and other components of the innate immune system. Here we review the cellular and molecular basis of innate immunity in the CNS and discuss what is known about how outcomes of these interactions can lead to resolution of infection, neurodegeneration, or neural repair depending on the context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1164-1171
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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