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J Autoimmun. 2000 May;14(3):213-20.

TGF-beta1 inhibits protracted-relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by activating dendritic cells.

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Division of Neurology, Units of Experimental Neurology and Neuroimmunology, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


Protracted-relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (PR-EAE) in DA rats is an animal model closely related to multiple sclerosis (MS). Previous studies showed that nasal administration of TGF-beta1 suppressed the development and relapse of PR-EAE clinically and pathologically. Here we demonstrate that this suppressive effect was associated with activation of dendritic cells (DC), showing elevated proliferative response and IFN-gamma and nitric oxide (NO) production by DC. DC derived from TGF-beta1-treated rats with PR-EAE also showed high expression of nitric oxide synthase 2 (NOS2) at both mRNA and protein levels. Apoptotic cells were increased in spleen sections of TGF-beta1-treated rats compared to control rats. In studying mechanisms of apoptosis in TGF-beta1-treated rats, in vitro experiments demonstrated that TGF-beta1-treated DC induced apoptosis of CD4(+)T cells by a NO pathway after co-culture with T cells. These results support the hypothesis that TGF-beta1-induced suppression of PR-EAE is associated with apoptosis of CD4(+)T cells induced by DC-derived NO.

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