NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research: Request for Information (RFI) on Neuroimmune Interactions in the Healthy CNS
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:

April 5, 2021

Response Date:
June 01, 2021

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Issued by

NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Eye Institute (NEI)

National Institute on Aging (NIA)

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR)

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR)


The National Institutes of Health Blueprint for Neuroscience Research (Blueprint) is a collaboration among 14 participating NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices to support cross-cutting programs to advance research on the nervous system. The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to seek input from the scientific community for the Blueprint to advance the fundamental understanding of neuroimmune interactions in the healthy Central Nervous System (CNS) by integrative studies on dynamic interactions of non-neuronal cells and neurons.


The NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research aims to accelerate transformative discoveries in brain function in health, aging, and disease. Blueprint is a collaborative framework that includes the NIH Office of the Director together with NIH Institutes and Centers that support research on the nervous system. By pooling resources and expertise, Blueprint identifies cross-cutting areas of research and confronts challenges too large for any single Institute or Center. The following website provides an overview of previous and current NIH Blueprint Activities:

Neuroimmune interactions play a critical role in both healthy brain and disease conditions. Major types of non-neuronal cells of the CNS, such as microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, immune cells, the neurovascular unit, etc., are the essential components of neuroimmune interactions. A recent decade of research has demonstrated that these non-neuronal cells contribute to brain function beyond homeostasis, immune surveillance, and axon insulation. They dynamically interact with neurons, regulate synaptic activity, and contribute to neurocircuit function and dysfunction through a variety of mechanisms across the life span. These conceptual advances have fundamentally changed our view of the neuroimmune components in healthy and diseases and put the non-neuronal cell and neuron interaction in a critical position to bridge neuroimmune signaling changes to neuronal network dynamics in shaping brain function and behavior.

Blueprint would like to solicit input on the challenges of integrating dynamic interactions of non-neuronal cells and neurons in understanding normal CNS function. The input received from the scientific community will help refine the strategy for the Blueprint to accelerate research and to establish how neuroimmune interaction mediated by non-neuronal cells and neurons is a fundamental component of CNS function and behavior.

Information Requested

Blueprint seeks input from the community to advance research on understanding the fundamental role of neuroimmune interactions in the healthy CNS across the life span, focusing on dynamic interactions of non-neuronal cells and neurons. The input is requested on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Identify key challenges, gaps, the bottleneck, as well as innovative strategies for the integrative analysis of non-neuronal cell and neuron interactions in understanding normal brain function and behavior.
  • Bridge the knowledge gap on how changes in neuroimmune signaling are translated into changes in neuronal network dynamics leading to modulations of brain function and behavior.
  • Assess the opportunities and challenges to apply emerging technologies in studying non-neuronal cell and neuron interactions and identify the unmet needs in technologies and tools for studying multi-cell type interactions.
  • Evaluate challenges to establish temporal and spatial dynamics of various non-neuronal cell and neuron interactions and to assess diverse interactions via the multi-level analysis.
  • Develop strategies to bridge animal and human studies of dynamic neuroimmune interactions.

How to Submit a Response

All comments must be submitted electronically to Please include the Notice number "NOT-AA-21-012" (without the quotes) in the subject line. Responses to this RFI will be accepted through June 30, 2021. Responders are free to address any or all the topics listed above and/or to provide feedback on relevant issues. The submitted information will be reviewed by NIH staff.


This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or individual NIH Institutes and Centers. The NIH does not intend to make any awards based on responses to this RFI or pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government's use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

NIH will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion and will not provide comments to any responder’s submission. However, responses to the RFI may be reflected in future planning activities and funding opportunity announcements. The information provided will be analyzed and may appear in reports. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted. No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).


Please direct all inquiries to:

Changhai Cui, Ph.D.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Telephone: 301-443-1678

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