Author(s): Murphy AC, Lalor SJ, Lynch MA, Mills KH
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Abstract Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a mouse model for multiple sclerosis, where disease is mediated by autoantigen-specific T cells. Although there is evidence linking CD4(+) T cells that secrete IL-17, termed Th17 cells, and IFN-gamma-secreting Th1 cells with the pathogenesis of EAE, the precise contribution of these T cell subtypes or their associated cytokines is still unclear. We have investigated the infiltration of CD4(+) T cells that secrete IFN-gamma, IL-17 or both cytokines into CNS during development of EAE and have examined the role of T cells in microglial activation. Our findings demonstrate that Th17 cells and CD4(+) T cells that produce both IFN-gamma and IL-17, which we have called Th1/Th17 cells, infiltrate the brain prior to the development of clinical symptoms of EAE and that this coincides with activation of CD11b(+) microglia and local production of IL-1beta, TNF-alpha and IL-6 in the CNS. In contrast, significant infiltration of Th1 cells was only detected after the development of clinical disease. Co-culture experiments, using mixed glia and MOG-specific T cells, revealed that T cells that secreted IFN-gamma and IL-17 were potent activators of pro-inflammatory cytokines but T cells that secrete IFN-gamma, but not IL-17, were less effective. In contrast both Th1 and Th1/Th17 cells enhanced MHC-class II and co-stimulatory molecule expression on microglia. Our findings suggest that T cells which secrete IL-17 or IL-17 and IFN-gamma infiltrate the CNS prior to the onset of clinical symptoms of EAE, where they may mediate CNS inflammation, in part, through microglial activation. Copyright 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Brain Behav Immun
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology