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J Immunol. 2005 Aug 15;175(4):2286-92.

Resistance to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by death receptor 6-deficient mice.

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Stress and Immune Response, Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA.


Genetic disruption of death receptor 6 (DR6) results in enhanced CD4+ T cell expansion, Th2 differentiation, and humoral responses after stimulation. However, the in vivo consequences of DR6 targeting (DR6-/-) during the initiation and progression of inflammatory autoimmune disease are unclear. Using a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG(35-55))-induced model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, DR6-/- mice were found to be highly resistant to both the onset and the progression of CNS disease compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. DR6-/- mice exhibited fewer inflammatory foci along with minimal demyelination and perivascular cuffing of inflammatory cells. Consistent with these observations, mononuclear cell infiltration, including CD4+ T cells and macrophages, in the spinal cord of DR6-/- mice was dramatically reduced. Furthermore, CD4+ T cells from DR6-/- mice exhibited profoundly reduced cell surface expression of VLA-4 before and after stimulation. Compared with WT mice, DR6-/- mice exhibited significantly increased autoantigen-induced T cell proliferative responses along with greater numbers of IL-4-producing and similar or slightly higher numbers of IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T cells. DR6-/- CD4+ T cells secreted higher levels of the Th2 cytokine, IL-4, and similar levels of the Th1 cytokine, IFN-gamma, compared with WT cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that DR6 plays an important role in regulating leukocyte infiltration and function in the induction and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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