Objective To identify and characterize myeloid cell populations within the CSF of patients with MS and anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) disorder by high-resolution single-cell gene expression analysis.
Methods Single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) was used to profile individual cells of CSF and blood from 2 subjects with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and one with anti-MOG disorder. Publicly available scRNA-seq data from the blood and CSF of 2 subjects with HIV were also analyzed. An informatics pipeline was used to cluster cell populations by transcriptomic profiling. Based on gene expression by CSF myeloid cells, a flow cytometry panel was devised to examine myeloid cell populations from the CSF of 11 additional subjects, including individuals with RRMS, anti-MOG disorder, and control subjects without inflammatory demyelination.
Results Common myeloid populations were identified within the CSF of subjects with RRMS, anti-MOG disorder, and HIV. These included monocytes, conventional and plasmacytoid dendritic cells, and cells with a transcriptomic signature matching microglia. Microglia could be discriminated from other myeloid cell populations in the CSF by flow cytometry.
Conclusions High-resolution single-cell gene expression analysis clearly distinguishes distinct myeloid cell types present within the CSF of subjects with neuroinflammation. A population of microglia exists within the human CSF, which is detectable by surface protein expression. The function of these cells during immunity and disease requires further investigation.