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J Clin Invest. 2006 Feb;116(2):447-55. Epub 2006 Jan 12.

Leptin neutralization interferes with pathogenic T cell autoreactivity in autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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  • 1Istituto di Endocrinologia e Oncologia Sperimentale, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (IEOS-CNR), Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Recent evidence has indicated that leptin, an adipocyte-secreted hormone belonging to the helical cytokine family, significantly influences immune and autoimmune responses. We investigate here the mechanisms by which in vivo abrogation of leptin effects protects SJL/J mice from proteolipid protein peptide PLP(139-151)-induced EAE, an animal model of MS. Blockade of leptin with anti-leptin Abs or with a soluble mouse leptin receptor chimera (ObR:Fc), either before or after onset of EAE, improved clinical score, slowed disease progression, reduced disease relapses, inhibited PLP(139-151)-specific T cell proliferation, and switched cytokine secretion toward a Th2/regulatory profile. This was also confirmed by induction of forkhead box p3 (Foxp3) expression in CD4 T cells in leptin-neutralized mice. Importantly, anti-leptin treatment induced a failure to downmodulate the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27 (p27) in autoreactive CD4 T cells. These effects were associated with increased tyrosine phosphorylation of both ERK1/2 and STAT6. Taken together, our data provide what we believe is a new molecular basis for leptin antagonism in EAE and envision novel strategies of leptin-based molecular targeting in the disease.

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