Critical role of preproenkephalin in experimental autoimmune  encephalomyelitis

Author(s): Weir C1, McNeill A, Hook S, Harvie M, La Flamme AC, et al. 


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an organ-specific autoimmune disease model used to investigate mechanisms involved in the activation of self-reactive T cells. Preproenkephalin (PPNK) is the gene that encodes the protein proenkephalin A that has been detected in the brain, adrenal cells and cells of the immune system. In this paper, whether PPNK plays a role in the development of EAE was investigated. PPNK-deficient and wild-type mice were immunized with the MOG(35-55) peptide and the development of EAE observed. Our results show that PPNK-deficient mice developed less severe clinical signs of disease than wild-type mice, and with lower incidence. MOG(35-55)-specific T cells from PPNK-deficient and wild-type mice produced IFNgamma and TNFalpha but no IL-4 or IL-10, indicative of a Th1 phenotype. However, the numbers of MOG(35-55)-specific IFNgamma-producing cells from immunized PPNK-deficient mice were largely reduced at early stages of disease. Interestingly, there was no difference in clinical signs or infiltrating mononuclear cells in the CNS between wild-type and PPNK-deficient mice at the later stage of disease. Our results suggest that PPNK accelerates the generation of autoimmune IFNgamma-producing T cells and MOG(35-55)-induced EAE.

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