Front Cell Neurosci 2019 3;13:126. Epub 2019 Apr 3.
Department of Neurosurgery, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, United States.
Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Because post-stroke inflammation is a critical determinant of damage and recovery after stroke, understanding the interplay between the immune system and the brain after stroke holds much promise for therapeutic intervention. An understudied, but important aspect of this interplay is the role of meninges that surround the brain. All blood vessels travel through the meningeal space before entering the brain parenchyma, making the meninges ideally located to act as an immune gatekeeper for the underlying parenchyma. Emerging evidence suggests that the actions of immune cells resident in the meninges are essential for executing this gatekeeper function. Mast cells (MCs), best known as proinflammatory effector cells, are one of the long-term resident immune cells in the meninges. Here, we discuss recent findings in the literature regarding the role of MCs located in the meningeal space and stroke pathology. We review the latest advances in mouse models to investigate the roles of MCs and MC-derived products , and the importance of using these mouse models. We examine the concept of the meninges playing a critical role in brain and immune interactions, reevaluate the perspectives on the key effectors of stroke pathology, and discuss the opportunities and challenges for therapeutic development.