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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 27;109(13):5004-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1117218109. Epub 2012 Mar 12.

Signal transducer and activator of transcription-3/suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (STAT3/SOCS3) axis in myeloid cells regulates neuroinflammation.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.


Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are feedback inhibitors of the JAK/STAT pathway. SOCS3 has a crucial role in inhibiting STAT3 activation, cytokine signaling, and inflammatory gene expression in macrophages/microglia. To determine the role of SOCS3 in myeloid cells in neuroinflammation, mice with conditional SOCS3 deletion in myeloid cells (LysMCre-SOCS3(fl/fl)) were tested for experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The myeloid-specific SOCS3-deficient mice are vulnerable to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE, with a severe, nonresolving atypical form of disease. In vivo, enhanced infiltration of inflammatory cells and demyelination is prominent in the cerebellum of myeloid-specific SOCS3-deficient mice, as is enhanced STAT3 signaling and expression of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines and an immune response dominated by Th1 and Th17 cells. In vitro, SOCS3-deficient macrophages exhibit heightened STAT3 activation and are polarized toward the classical M1 phenotype. SOCS3-deficient M1 macrophages provide the microenvironment to polarize Th1 and Th17 cells and induce neuronal death. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of M2 macrophages into myeloid SOCS3-deficient mice leads to delayed onset and reduced severity of atypical EAE by decreasing STAT3 activation, Th1/Th17 cells, and proinflammatory mediators in the cerebellum. These findings indicate that myeloid cell SOCS3 provides protection from EAE through deactivation of neuroinflammatory responses.

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