Myeloid-biased hematopoietic stem cells (MB-HSCs) play critical roles in recovery from injury, but little is known about how they are regulated within the bone marrow niche. Here we describe an auto-/paracrine physiologic circuit that controls quiescence of MB-HSCs and hematopoietic progenitors marked by histidine decarboxylase (Hdc). Committed Hdc+ myeloid cells lie in close anatomical proximity to MB-HSCs and produce histamine, which activates the H2 receptor on MB-HSCs to promote their quiescence and self-renewal. Depleting histamine-producing cells enforces cell cycle entry, induces loss of serial transplant capacity, and sensitizes animals to chemotherapeutic injury. Increasing demand for myeloid cells via lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment specifically recruits MB-HSCs and progenitors into the cell cycle; cycling MB-HSCs fail to revert into quiescence in the absence of histamine feedback, leading to their depletion, while an H2 agonist protects MB-HSCs from depletion after sepsis. Thus, histamine couples lineage-specific physiological demands to intrinsically primed MB-HSCs to enforce homeostasis.
Mammals have evolved neurophysiologic reflexes, such as coughing and scratching, to expel invading pathogens and noxious environmental stimuli. It is well established that these responses are also associated with chronic inflammatory diseases, including asthma and atopic dermatitis. However, the mechanisms by which inflammatory pathways promote sensations such as itch remain poorly understood. Here, we show that type 2 cytokines directly activate sensory neurons in both mice and humans. Further, we demonstrate that chronic itch is dependent on neuronal IL-4Rα and JAK1 signaling. We also observe that patients with recalcitrant chronic itch that failed other immunosuppressive therapies markedly improve when treated with JAK inhibitors. Thus, signaling mechanisms previously ascribed to the immune system may represent novel therapeutic targets within the nervous system. Collectively, this study reveals an evolutionarily conserved paradigm in which the sensory nervous system employs classical immune signaling pathways to influence mammalian behavior.
Microglia seed the embryonic neuro-epithelium, expand and actively sculpt neuronal circuits in the developing central nervous system, but eventually adopt relative quiescence and ramified morphology in the adult. Here, we probed the impact of post-transcriptional control by microRNAs (miRNAs) on microglial performance during development and adulthood by generating mice lacking microglial Dicer expression at these distinct stages. Conditional Dicer ablation in adult microglia revealed that miRNAs were required to limit microglial responses to challenge. After peripheral endotoxin exposure, Dicer-deficient microglia expressed more pro-inflammatory cytokines than wild-type microglia and thereby compromised hippocampal neuronal functions. In contrast, prenatal Dicer ablation resulted in spontaneous microglia activation and revealed a role for Dicer in DNA repair and preservation of genome integrity. Accordingly, Dicer deficiency rendered otherwise radio-resistant microglia sensitive to gamma irradiation. Collectively, the differential impact of the Dicer ablation on microglia of the developing and adult brain highlights the changes these cells undergo with time.