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J Neuroimmunol. 2002 Oct;131(1-2):115-25.

The suppression of T cell apoptosis influences the severity of disease during the chronic phase but not the recovery from the acute phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice.

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Neuroimmunology Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria 3083, Australia.


The elimination of T cells by apoptosis is considered to be one of the regulatory factors in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. To address further the role of apoptotic T cell death in EAE, we investigated myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE in transgenic mice overexpressing the anti-apoptotic gene, bcl-2, in T cells. During the acute phase of EAE, no significant difference was observed in the clinical course, pathology and T cell response to MOG between bcl-2 transgenic mice and wild-type littermates. While the recovery from the first attack of EAE was not impaired in the bcl-2 transgenic mice, a more severe disease was observed during the chronic phase of the disease even though T and B cell responses to MOG were comparable to those of wild-type littermates. A flow cytometric analysis by Annexin V showed a significant decrease of apoptotic T cells in the central nervous system (CNS) of the bcl-2 transgenic mice with EAE compared with controls during the chronic as well as the acute phase of disease. These results suggest that while T cell apoptosis in the CNS may play a regulatory role in EAE, the spontaneous recovery from acute EAE cannot solely be explained by T cell apoptosis.

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