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Defining the architecture of cerebrospinal fluid cellular communities in neuroinflammatory diseases

By Tina Roostaei, Claudiu Diaconu, Hanane Touil, Claire Harbison, Ya Zhang, Samantha Epstein, John Tuddenham, Julien Bryois, Heinz Wiendl, Gerd Meyer zu Hörste, Dheeraj Malhotra, Claire Riley, Vilas Menon, Philip L. De Jager

Posted 05 Nov 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.01.466797

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers are important for multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. Moreover, absent of autopsy or biopsy tissue, CSF is the most relevant source for studying the immune cells involved in MS pathophysiology. Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) provides new opportunities to advance our understanding of disease-associated changes in CSF immune cells. Here, using scRNA-seq data generated from 58 CSF and 10 PBMC samples, we provide an updated atlas of the immune cells present in human CSF in MS and other neuroinflammatory conditions, including novel lymphoid and myeloid cell clusters. Our atlas can thus serve as a reference for future studies of immune cells in neuroinflammation. Our further characterization of CSF myeloid cells suggests that most CSF microglia-like cells resemble two of the previously-described brain microglia signatures. Additionally, our data from a sex-mismatched bone marrow transplant recipient suggest that CSF microglia-like cells are of peripheral origin. Our comparisons between MS and other neuroinflammatory disorders show a highly-specific increase in plasma cells, along with reductions in the proportion of microglia-like cells in MS CSF. Furthermore, our analyses on MS patients receiving anti-CD20 therapy ocrelizumab suggest that the treatment effects are not limited to B cell depletion, and ocrelizumab appears to reverse some MS-associated T and myeloid changes in CSF. Finally, we utilized our atlas to prioritize (1) CSF cell types expressing genes associated with MS susceptibility, and (2) ligand-receptor gene pairs that are differentially expressed in MS CSF, providing targets for further mechanistic and causal investigations in pathophysiology and treatment of MS.

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