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J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 1998 Feb;57(2):168-78.

Transcription factor NF-kappaB and inhibitor I kappaBalpha are localized in macrophages in active multiple sclerosis lesions.

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Multiple Sclerosis Laboratory, Institute of Neurology, London, England.


NF-kappaB is a transcription factor family which on translocation to the nucleus regulates gene expression during cell activation. As such, NF-kappaB may play a role in the microglial response to myelin damage in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Here the cellular localization of NF-kappaB and expression of the inhibitory I kappaBalpha were examined by immunocytochemistry on central nervous system (CNS) tissue from MS and control cases. In normal control white matter, the active form of the NF-kappaB subunit RelA (p65) was localized in microglial nuclei, while the c-Rel and p50 subunits and the inhibitory I kappaBalpha were restricted to the cytoplasm. In contrast, in actively demyelinating plaques, the RelA, c-Rel, and p50 subunits of NF-kappaB and I kappaBalpha were all present in macrophage nuclei in both parenchymal and perivascular areas. RelA was also found in the nuclei of a subset of hypertrophic astrocytes. Only c-Rel had a nuclear localization in lymphocytes in perivascular inflammatory cuffs. Our results suggest that constitutive activation of the RelA subunit in the nuclei of resting microglia may facilitate a rapid response to pathological stimuli in the CNS. Activation of the inducible NF-kappaB pool in macrophages in MS lesions could amplify the inflammatory reaction through upregulation of NF-kappaB-controlled adhesion molecules and cytokines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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