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J Neuroimmunol. 2002 Aug;129(1-2):186-96.

Effect of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase on induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Building 10, Room 4B36, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) is an enzyme that catabolizes tryptophan, which can result in the death of T lymphocytes. This effect of IDO is inhibited by 1-methyl-tryptophan (1-MT). We used a murine model of EAE to demonstrate: (1) opposing patterns of spinal cord IDO and interferon-gamma (INF-gamma) mRNA expression through the preclinical, acute and remission I phases of EAE; (2) a change in the kynurenine-to-tryptophan (K/T) ratio during these same phases; and (3) 1-MT-induced exacerbation of clinical and histologic disease parameters during EAE. These results suggest that IDO may contribute to the regulation of T cell activity associated with the different phases of this animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

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