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J Immunol. 2014 Jan 1;192(1):59-72. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1301513. Epub 2013 Dec 9.

Therapeutic efficacy of suppressing the Jak/STAT pathway in multiple models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294;


Pathogenic Th cells and myeloid cells are involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS. The JAK/STAT pathway is used by numerous cytokines for signaling and is critical for development, regulation, and termination of immune responses. Dysregulation of the JAK/STAT pathway has pathological implications in autoimmune and neuroinflammatory diseases. Many of the cytokines involved in MS/EAE, including IL-6, IL-12, IL-23, IFN-γ, and GM-CSF, use the JAK/STAT pathway to induce biological responses. Thus, targeting JAKs has implications for treating autoimmune inflammation of the brain. We have used AZD1480, a JAK1/2 inhibitor, to investigate the therapeutic potential of inhibiting the JAK/STAT pathway in models of EAE. AZD1480 treatment inhibits disease severity in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced classical and atypical EAE models by preventing entry of immune cells into the brain, suppressing differentiation of Th1 and Th17 cells, deactivating myeloid cells, inhibiting STAT activation in the brain, and reducing expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Treatment of SJL/J mice with AZD1480 delays disease onset of PLP-induced relapsing-remitting disease, reduces relapses and diminishes clinical severity. AZD1480 treatment was also effective in reducing ongoing paralysis induced by adoptive transfer of either pathogenic Th1 or Th17 cells. In vivo AZD1480 treatment impairs both the priming and expansion of T cells and attenuates Ag presentation functions of myeloid cells. Inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway has clinical efficacy in multiple preclinical models of MS, suggesting the feasibility of the JAK/STAT pathway as a target for neuroinflammatory diseases.

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