University of Pennsylvania and Brain A latest study has for the first time imaged the immune response of the body to a parasitic infection in the brain. This novel study was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Toxoplasma is said to be a common parasite found in about 30 percent of human brains. It is stated that not much is known about the methodology of the process through which the T cells access the central nervous system during a toxoplasma infection. The present study attempts to analyze the process through which the immune system regulates the brain infection.

Lead author, Emma Wilson, says that, “We found, quite unexpectedly, that the movement of infiltrating T cells was closely associated with an infection-induced reticular system of fibers in the brain. These structures were not present in normal brain tissue.”

The investigators with the help of two-photon microscopy mainly kept an eye on the visualization of effector CD8+ T cells during the toxoplasmic encephalitis. The latest two-photon microscopy apparently permits the visualization of the T-cells in the brain.

Chris Hunter, professor and chair of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet, says that, “This observation suggests that in the brain, specialized structures are induced by inflammation that guide migration of T cells in this immune-privileged environment and allow them to perform a search-and-destroy type of mission required to find abnormal cells or microbes with the brain.”

This study gives a deeper understanding of the functionality of the immune cells in the brain. These findings may prove to be very beneficial for the development of future treatments for any brain affected inflammatory condition.

This study was supported with a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Their findings are published in the Immunity journal.