The central nervous system (CNS) has traditionally been regarded as immune-privileged, with few immune cells detected in the healthy brain. Although few T cells are detected in the healthy CNS, large numbers can infiltrate the CNS in certain diseases where T cell involvement is crucial, from T-cell mediated autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, to T cell mediated immunity in Toxoplasma gondii infections. However, as T cell infiltration into the CNS is not apparent in many neuroinflammatory diseases, the question remains, as to what role T cells play in the initiation or amplification of an immune response in the brain. Furthermore, with the recent appreciation of a specific subset of T cells, T regulatory cells, and its critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of the adaptive immune response, it has garnered excitement on the possibility that T regulatory cells may play an important role in modulating neuroinflammation. In addition, recent studies have shown that T cells produce transmitters normally made by neurons, suggesting that T cells may have direct effects on neurons, further placing T cells at the interface between the immune and central nervous systems. This symposium brings together experts at the forefront of their respective fields interested in T cell biology, to further delineate the mechanisms of T cell activation, recruitment, and peripheral T-cell-to-central-CNS communication, and potentially offer clues on potential intervention for CNS diseases, a still huge unmet need.
*Reception to follow event.
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