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J Immunol. 1995 Jan 15;154(2):944-53.

TNF-alpha expression by resident microglia and infiltrating leukocytes in the central nervous system of mice with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Regulation by Th1 cytokines.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, Quebec, Canada.


The inflammatory cytokines IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha have been demonstrated in various autoimmune diseases, and are thought to participate in the induction and pathogenesis of disease. TFN-alpha is a cytopathic cytokine that is cytotoxic for oligodendrocytes in vitro and has been implicated in the pathology of multiple sclerosis and its animal model experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). We used reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR to study the kinetics, cellular source, and regulation of cytokine gene expression in the central nervous system (CNS) of SJL/J mice with myelin basic protein-induced EAE at different stages of the disease. The expression of CD3, IL-2, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha mRNA was barely detectable in the CNS of unmanipulated mice or mice that were immunized with adjuvant but showed no symptoms. These mRNAs were readily detectable in the CNS of mice during peak disease, then coordinately dropped to background levels during remission. Analysis of cells isolated from the CNS of mice with acute EAE showed that the Th1 cytokines, IL-2 and IFN-gamma, were produced by infiltrating CD4+ T cells. In contrast, TNF-alpha was predominantly transcribed by non-T mononuclear CNS cells, the majority of which were identified as microglia and macrophages by their Mac-1 phenotype. Microglia could be discriminated by their low expression of CD45. Incubation of freshly derived, adult microglia from normal, uninfiltrated, CNS with activated Th1 supernatant induced the production of TNF-alpha mRNA. Therefore, TNF-alpha is made by both CNS-resident microglia and infiltrating macrophages during EAE, and this production is tightly controlled by cytokines secreted by infiltrating CD4+ T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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