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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2005 May;64(5):404-11.

Differential expression of sonic hedgehog immunoreactivity during lesion evolution in autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Neurology, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria.


The signaling molecule Sonic hedgehog (Shh) is involved in several processes of central nervous system development. Recent reports indicate that Shh expression plays a role also in certain pathologic conditions in the adult brain, including multiple sclerosis and its animal model. However, the role of Shh signaling in immune-mediated demyelinating disease remains still uncertain. The aim of our study was to investigate the distribution pattern of Shh immunoreactivity (Shh-IR) during lesion evolution in myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (MOG-EAE), a model strongly mimicking multiple sclerosis. MOG-EAE was actively induced in DA rats. Histologic evaluation was performed with light and confocal microscopy on paraffin-embedded central nervous system sections from days 20 to 120 after active immunization. Shh-IR was present within the lesions of MOG-EAE during all stages of lesion evolution. The highest staining intensity for Shh was found in remyelinating lesions. In actively demyelinating, inactive demyelinated lesions, and in remyelinating lesions, Shh-IR was detected in macrophages, endothelium, and astrocytes. Shh-IR in axons was exclusively present in remyelinating lesions. Although the exact molecular mechanisms of the Shh-signaling pathway in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis are yet to be determined, our findings may imply a role of Shh signaling in facilitating remyelination.

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