Innate and adaptive immune responses in the central nervous system (CNS) play critical roles in the pathogenesis of neurological diseases. In the first of a two-part special issue, leading researchers discuss how imaging modalities are used to monitor immune responses in several neurodegenerative diseases and glioblastoma and brain metastases. While comparative studies in humans between imaging and pathology are biased towards the end stage of disease, animal models can inform regarding how immune responses change with disease progression and as a result of treatment regimens. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) are frequently used to image disease progression, and the articles indicate how one or more of these modalities have been applied to specific neuroimmune diseases. In addition, advanced microscopical imaging using two-dimensional photon microscopy and in vitro live cell imaging have also been applied to animal models. In this special issue (Parts 1 and 2), as well as the imaging modalities mentioned, several articles discuss biomarkers of disease and microscopical studies that have enabled characterization of immune responses. Future developments of imaging modalities should enable tracking of specific subsets of immune cells during disease allowing longitudinal monitoring of immune responses. These new approaches will be critical to more effectively monitor and thus target specific cell subsets for therapeutic interventions which may be applicable to a range of neurological diseases.
- amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- central nervous system
- innate immune system