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PLoS One. 2011;6(12):e26274. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026274. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Macrophage-specific chemokines induced via innate immunity by amino acid copolymers and their role in EAE.

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  • 1Peptimmune, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States of America.


The random amino acid copolymer poly(Y,E,A,K)(n) (Copaxone®) is widely used in multiple sclerosis treatment and a second generation copolymer poly(Y,F,A,K)(n) with enhanced efficacy in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in mice has been described. A major mechanism through which copolymers function to ameliorate disease is the generation of immunosuppressive IL-10-secreting regulatory T cells entering the CNS. In addition, the antigen presenting cell to which these copolymers bind through MHC Class II proteins may have an important role. Here, both CCL22 (a Th2 cell chemoattractant) in large amounts and CXCL13 in much smaller amounts are shown to be secreted after administration of YFAK to mice and to a smaller extent by YEAK parallel to their serum concentrations. Moreover, bone marrow-derived macrophages secrete CCL22 in vitro in response to YFAK and to higher concentrations of YEAK. Strikingly, these chemokines are also secreted into serum of MHC Class II -/- mice, indicating that an innate immune receptor on these cells also has an important role. Thus, both the innate and the adaptive immune systems are involved in the mechanism of EAE amelioration by YFAK. The enhanced ability of YFAK to stimulate the innate immune system may account for its enhanced efficacy in EAE treatment.

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