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J Exp Med. 2004 Jul 5;200(1):79-87.

Loss of T-bet, but not STAT1, prevents the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Institutes of Medicine, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The transcription factors signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)1 and T-bet control the differentiation of interferon (IFN)-gamma-producing T helper type (Th)1 cells. Here we compare the role of T-bet and STAT1 in the initiation and regulation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a disease initiated by Th1 cells. T-bet-deficient mice immunized with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) were resistant to the development of EAE. This protection was also observed when T-bet(-/-) mice were crossed to the MOG-specific 2D2 T cell receptor transgenic strain. In contrast, although T-bet is downstream of STAT1, STAT1(-/-) mice were highly susceptible to EAE and developed more severe and accelerated disease with atypical neuropathologic features. The function of T-bet was dominant as mice deficient in both T-bet and STAT1 were also protected from EAE. CD4(+) CD25(+) regulatory T cells from these two mice strains were fully competent and do not explain the difference in disease susceptibility. However, enhanced EAE in STAT1(-/-) mice was associated with continued generation of IFN-gamma-producing Th1 cells and up-regulation of selective chemokines responsible for the increased recruitment of macrophages and neutrophils in the central nervous system. Although the two transcription factors, STAT1 and T-bet, both induce IFN-gamma gene transcription, our results demonstrate marked differences in their function in regulating pathogenic Th1 cell responses.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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