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J Immunol. 1991 May 1;146(9):3012-7.

Prevention and treatment of chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by transforming growth factor-beta 1.

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  • 1Neuroimmunology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 30892.


Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system. The effect of the immunosuppressive molecule transforming growth factor-beta, (TGF-beta 1) on chronic relapsing EAE produced by the transfer of myelin basic protein-specific T cell lines was studied. TGF-beta 1 markedly inhibited the activation and proliferation of myelin-basic protein-specific lymph node cells in vitro. This reduced the capacity of these cells to transfer EAE. In addition, administration of TGF-beta 1 in vivo consistently resulted in an improved clinical course, even when given during ongoing disease. Immunopathologic study demonstrated a marked reduction in central nervous system damage and expression of cell-surface lymphocyte function-associated Ag-1 and class II MHC molecules in TGF-beta 1-treated mice. These findings have identified TGF-beta 1 as a possible therapeutic agent for the human demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis.

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