RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Intrathecal delivery of IFN-gamma protects C57BL/6 mice from chronic-progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by increasing apoptosis of central nervous system-infiltrating lymphocytes.

Journal of Immunology 2001 August 2
The exclusive detrimental role of proinflammatory cytokines in demyelinating diseases of the CNS, such as multiple sclerosis, is controversial. Here we show that the intrathecal delivery of an HSV-1-derived vector engineered with the mouse IFN-gamma gene leads to persistent (up to 4 wk) CNS production of IFN-gamma and inhibits the course of a chronic-progressive form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in C57BL/6 mice by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)(35-55). Mice treated with the IFN-gamma-containing vector before EAE onset showed an earlier onset but a milder course of the disease compared with control mice treated with the empty vector. In addition, 83% of IFN-gamma-treated mice completely recovered within 25 days post immunization, whereas control mice did not recover up to 60 days post immunization. Mice treated with the IFN-gamma-containing vector within 1 wk after EAE onset partially recovered from the disease within 25 days after vector injection, whereas control mice worsened. Recovery from EAE in mice treated with IFN-gamma was associated with a significant increase of CNS-infiltrating lymphocytes undergoing apoptosis. During the recovery phase, the mRNA level of TNFR1 was also significantly increased in CNS-infiltrating cells from IFN-gamma-treated mice compared with controls. Our results further challenge the exclusive detrimental role of IFN-gamma in the CNS during EAE/multiple sclerosis, and indicate that CNS-confined inflammation may induce protective immunological countermechanisms leading to a faster clearance of encephalitogenic T cells by apoptosis, thus restoring the immune privilege of the CNS.

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