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Mult Scler. 2011 Jan;17(1):2-15. doi: 10.1177/1352458510379243. Epub 2010 Sep 2.

Altered M1/M2 activation patterns of monocytes in severe relapsing experimental rat model of multiple sclerosis. Amelioration of clinical status by M2 activated monocyte administration.

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  • 1University Victor Segalen, France.



We investigated proinflammatory M1 and immunomodulatory M2 activation profiles of circulating monocytes in relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of multiple sclerosis, and tested whether altered M1/M2 equilibrium promotes CNS inflammation.


Approaches of MRI macrophage tracking with USPIO nanoparticles and expression patterns of M1/M2 macrophages and microglia in brain and M1/M2 monocytes in blood samples at various disease stages revealed that M1/M2 equilibrium in blood and CNS favors mild EAE, while imbalance towards M1 promotes relapsing EAE. We consequently investigated whether M2 activated monocyte restoration in peripheral blood could cure acute clinical EAE disease. Administration of ex vivo activated M2 monocytes both suppressed ongoing severe EAE and increased immunomodulatory expression pattern in lesions, confirming their role in the induction of recovery.


We conclude that imbalance of monocyte activation profiles and impaired M2 expression, are key factors in development of relapses. Our study opens new perspectives for therapeutic applications in MS.

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