Rat choroid plexuses contain myeloid progenitors capable of differentiation toward macrophage or dendritic cell phenotypes



The interface between the blood and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is formed by the choroid plexuses (CPs), which are specialized structures located within the brain ventricles. They are composed of a vascularized stroma surrounded by a tight epithelium that controls molecular and cellular traffic between the blood and the CSF. Cells expressing myeloid markers are present within the choroidal stroma. However, the exact identity, maturation state, and functions of these CP-associated myeloid cells are not fully clarified. We show here that this cell population contains immature myeloid progenitors displaying a high proliferative potential. Thus, in neonate rats and, to a lesser extent, in adult rats, cultured CP stroma cells form large colonies of macrophages, in response to M-CSF or GM-CSF, while, under the same conditions, peripheral blood monocytes do not. In addition, under GM-CSF treatment, free-floating colonies of CD11c+ monocytic cells are generated which, when restimulated with GM-CSF and IL-4, differentiate into OX62+/MHC class II+ dendritic cells. Interestingly, in CP stroma cultures, myeloid cells are found in close association with fibroblastic-like cells expressing the neural stem-cell marker nestin. Similarly, in the developing brain, macrophages and nestin+ fibroblastic cells accumulate in vivo within the choroidal stroma. Taken together, these results suggest that the CP stroma represents a niche for myeloid progenitors and may serve as a reservoir for brain macrophages. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.