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J Neurosci Res. 1994 Jul 1;38(4):365-75.

Phagocytic activity of macrophages and microglial cells during the course of acute and chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The ED1 monoclonal antibody recognizes an antigen in lysosomal membranes of phagocytes. The expression of this antigen in cells increases during phagocytic activity. Here we describe the expression of ED1-immunoreactivity during the various stages of both acute (monophasic) and chronic relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in the Lewis rat. During the first attack of acute and chronic relapsing EAE, ED1-immunoreactivity was present in macrophages and in cells which displayed morphologic features of activated microglial cells (i.e., cells with thick short processes). At the ultrastructural level these cells were seen to contain phagocytosed myelin structures in lysosomes. ED1-immunoreactivity in these cells was present in the cytoplasm near lysosomes. During the remission phase of acute EAE and the relapse phase of chronic relapsing EAE, ED1-positive cells with dendritic morphology not only were present in or nearby lesions, but were also found at sites distant from lesions throughout large parts of the brain. These cells had a morphology comparable to microglial cells in normal brain. A major difference between animals which were in remission and animals which on day 25 were suffering from a relapse, was that the latter showed the presence of lesions with darkly stained round ED1-positive macrophages and activated microglial cells. These results indicate that during a relapse, newly recruited blood-borne macrophages infiltrate the brain and, together with activated lymphocytes and microglial cells, recommence a new demyelination process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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