Author(s): Karussis D, VourkaKarussis U, MizrachiKoll R, Abramsky O
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Abstract Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an inducible autoimmune disease widely used as a model of the acute/relapsing stage of multiple sclerosis. We have previously shown that treatment of EAE-mice with high doses of cyclophosphamide (CY) (350 mg kg), followed by syngeneic bone marrow transplantation (SBMT), completely abrogates the clinical paralytic signs and even prevents the appearance of new relapses in the chronic-relapsing model of the disease. In the present study we examined whether this treatment protocol induces long term tolerance and whether this tolerance is antigen-specific. EAE was induced by immunization with spinal cord homogenate (MSCH) in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA). The treatment with CY and SBMT was performed on day 6 post immunization. Treated and untreated mice were rechallenged with MSCH, or a non-relevant antigen (OVA) in CFA at various stages after the first paralytic attack. In contrast to previous data showing that animals recovering from acute EAE are usually refractory to re-induction of the disease, repeated injections of MSCH at different sites from the initial immunization, followed by i.v. injection of inactivated Bordetella bacteria, 2, 4 and 6 months after the initial EAE-induction, caused a severe and usually lethal relapse in all the untreated, control animals. Mice treated with CY and SBMT were resistant to all rechallenges with the same encephalitogenic inoculum. Following the second rechallenge, peripheral lymph node cells were examined in vitro for their proliferative responses to myelin antigens or to OVA. Lymphocytes obtained from CY+SBMT treated mice did not proliferate in vitro in response to myelin basic protein (MBP), but proliferated against OVA, when immunized with this antigen, after SBMT. Adoptive transfer of lymphocytes from tolerant mice to naive recipients did not transfer resistance to EAE-induction. Our results indicate that high doses of CY, followed by SBMT, induce long term antigen-specific tolerance presumably by a mechanism of clonal deletion or anergy.
This article was published in Mult Scler
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy