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Brain. 2007 Nov;130(Pt 11):2816-29. Epub 2007 Sep 22.

Persistent activation of microglia is associated with neuronal dysfunction of callosal projecting pathways and multiple sclerosis-like lesions in relapsing--remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cortical pathology, callosal atrophy and axonal loss are substrates of progression in multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we describe cortical, periventricular subcortical lesions and callosal demyelination in relapsing-remitting experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in SJL mice that are similar to lesions found in MS. Unlike the T-cell infiltrates that peak during acute disease, we found that microglia activation persists through the chronic disease phase. Microglia activation correlated with abnormal phosphorylation of neurofilaments in the cortex and stripping of synaptic proteins in cortical callosal projecting neurons. There was significant impairment of retrograde labeling of NeuN-positive callosal projecting neurons and reduction in the labelling of their transcallosal axons. These data demonstrate a novel paradigm of cortical and callosal neuropathology in a mouse model of MS, perpetuated by innate immunity. These features closely mimic the periventricular and cortical pathology described in MS patients and establish a model that could be useful to study mechanisms of progression in MS.

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