Dendritic cells (DC) accumulate in the CNS during neuroinflammation, yet, how these cells contribute to CNS antigen drainage is still unknown. We have previously shown that after intracerebral injection, antigen-loaded bone marrow DC migrate to deep cervical lymph nodes where they prime antigen-specific T cells and exacerbate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice. Here, we report that DC migration from brain parenchyma is dependent upon the chemokine receptor CCR7. During EAE, both wild type and CCR7 CD11c-eYFP cells infiltrated into the CNS but cells that lacked CCR7 were retained in brain and spinal cord while wild type DC migrated to cervical lymph nodes. Retention of CCR7-deficient CD11c-eYFP cells in the CNS exacerbated EAE. These data are the first to show that CD11c high DC use CCR7 for migration out of the CNS, and in the absence of this receptor they remain in the CNS in situ and exacerbate EAE.
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