In JoVE (4)

Other Publications (284)

Articles by Heinz Wiendl in JoVE

Other articles by Heinz Wiendl on PubMed

Destruction of Neurons by Cytotoxic T Cells: a New Pathogenic Mechanism in Rasmussen's Encephalitis

Annals of Neurology. Mar, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11891826

Rasmussen's encephalitis is a progressive epileptic disorder characterized by unihemispheric lymphocytic infiltrates, microglial nodules, and neuronal loss leading to the destruction of the affected hemisphere. In this study, immunohistochemical evaluation of specimens from 11 patients revealed lymphocytic infiltrates that consisted mainly of CD3(+)CD8(+) T cells. Of these cells, 7.0% lay in direct apposition to MHC class I(+) neurons. Confocal laser microscopy revealed that these lymphocytes contained granzyme B in a polar orientation toward these perikarya. Single neurons underwent apoptosis. These findings indicate that a T-cell-mediated cytotoxic reaction induces neuronal death in Rasmussen's encephalitis. This study directly shows, for what we believe is the first time, that a cytotoxic T-cell mechanism contributes to loss of neurons in human brain disease.

A Functional Role of HLA-G Expression in Human Gliomas: an Alternative Strategy of Immune Escape

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11971028

HLA-G is a nonclassical MHC molecule with highly limited tissue distribution that has been attributed chiefly immune regulatory functions. Glioblastoma is paradigmatic for the capability of human cancers to paralyze the immune system. To delineate the potential role of HLA-G in glioblastoma immunobiology, expression patterns and functional relevance of this MHC class Ib molecule were investigated in glioma cells and brain tissues. HLA-G mRNA expression was detected in six of 12 glioma cell lines in the absence of IFN-gamma and in 10 of 12 cell lines in the presence of IFN-gamma. HLA-G protein was detected in four of 12 cell lines in the absence of IFN-gamma and in eight of 12 cell lines in the presence of IFN-gamma. Immunohistochemical analysis of human brain tumors revealed expression of HLA-G in four of five tissue samples. Functional studies on the role of HLA-G in glioma cells were conducted with alloreactive PBMCs, NK cells, and T cell subpopulations. Expression of membrane-bound HLA-G1 and soluble HLA-G5 inhibited alloreactive and Ag-specific immune responses. Gene transfer of HLA-G1 or HLA-G5 into HLA-G-negative glioma cells (U87MG) rendered cells highly resistant to direct alloreactive lysis, inhibited the alloproliferative response, and prevented efficient priming of cytotoxic T cells. The inhibitory effects of HLA-G were directed against CD8 and CD4 T cells, but appeared to be NK cell independent. Interestingly, few HLA-G-positive cells within a population of HLA-G-negative tumor cells exerted significant immune inhibitory effects. We conclude that the aberrant expression of HLA-G may contribute to immune escape in human glioblastoma.

An Autoreactive Gamma Delta TCR Derived from a Polymyositis Lesion

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Jul, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12077283

To investigate the role of gammadelta T cells in human autoimmune disease we expressed and characterized a gammadelta TCR from an autoimmune tissue lesion. The TCR was first identified in a rare form of polymyositis characterized by a monoclonal infiltrate of gammadelta T cells which invaded and destroyed skeletal muscle fibers. The Vgamma1.3-Jgamma1-Cgamma1/Vdelta2-Jdelta3 TCR cDNA of the original muscle invasive gammadelta T cell clone was reconstructed from unrelated cDNA and transfected into the mouse hybridoma BW58alpha(-)beta(-). Appropriate anti-human gammadelta TCR Abs stimulated the TCR transfectants to produce IL-2, thus demonstrating that the human gammadelta TCR functionally interacted with murine signaling components. The transfected Vgamma1.3/Vdelta2 TCR recognized a cytosolic protein expressed in cultured human myoblasts and TE671 rhabdomyosarcoma cells. The Ag was recognized in the absence of presenting cells. Using a panel of control gammadelta TCR transfectants with defined exchanges in different positions of both TCR chains, we showed that the gammadelta TCR recognized its Ag in a TCR complementarity-determining region 3-dependent way. To our knowledge, this is the first example of a molecularly defined gammadelta TCR directly derived from an autoimmune tissue lesion. The strategy used in this study may be applicable to other autoimmune diseases.

Advances in Pathogenic Concepts and Therapeutic Agents in Rasmussen's Encephalitis

Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. Jul, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12084008

Rasmussen's encephalitis is a rare inflammatory brain disease which occurs mainly in children and is characterised by affection of only one hemisphere. Pathogenetic concepts have considered three different, not mutually exclusive, key factors contributing to the initiating or perpetuating events in the central nervous system. These include viruses, autoimmune antibodies and autoimmune cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Based on these concepts, different therapeutic strategies have been pursued, such as antiviral agents, plasmapheresis, immuno-adsorption, immunosuppression or immunomodulation with intravenous immunoglobulins. However, due to the lack of larger studies, to date there is no established therapeutic strategy of this devastating disease. An overview of the current state of immunepathogenic concepts for Rasmussen's encephalitis is given and past and present treatment attempts are discussed, including an outline of future perspectives. An opinion on symptomatic treatment with anticonvulsive drugs is included.

Therapeutic Approaches in Multiple Sclerosis: Lessons from Failed and Interrupted Treatment Trials

BioDrugs : Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy. 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12102646

The therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) has changed dramatically over the past decade. Recent immunobiological findings and current pathophysiological concepts together with advances in biotechnology, improvements in clinical trial design and development of magnetic resonance imaging have led to a variety of evaluable therapeutic approaches in MS. However, in contrast to the successfully introduced and established immunomodulatory therapies (e.g. interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate), there have been a remarkable number of therapeutic failures as well. Despite convincing immunological concepts, impressive data from animal models and promising results from phase I/II studies, the drugs and strategies investigated showed no benefit or even turned out to have unexpectedly severe adverse effects. Although to date there is no uniformly accepted model for MS, there is agreement on the significance of inflammatory events mediated by autoreactive T cells in the CNS. These can be modified therapeutically at the individual steps of a hypothetical pathogenetic cascade. Crucial corners like: the prevalence and peripheral activation of CNS-autoreactive T cells in the periphery;adhesion and penetration of T cells into the CNS;local activation and proliferation and;de- and remyelination processes can be targeted through their putative mediators. Like a 'specificity pyramid', therapeutic approaches therefore cover from general immunosuppression up to specific targeting of T-cell receptor peptide major histocompatibility (MHC) complex. We discuss in detail clinical MS trials that failed or were discontinued for other reasons. These trials include cytokine modulators [tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha antagonists, interleukin-10, interleukin-4, transforming growth factor-beta2], immunosuppressive agents (roquinimex, gusperimus, sulfasalazine, cladribine), inducers of remyelination [intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIg)], antigen-derived therapies [oral tolerance, altered peptide ligands (APL), MHC-Peptide blockade], T cell and T-cell receptor directed therapies (T cell vaccination, T-cell receptor peptide vaccination), monoclonal antibodies against leucocyte differentiation molecules (anti-CD3, anti-CD4), and inactivation of circulating T cells (extracorporeal photopheresis). The main conclusions that can be drawn from these 'negative' experiences are as follows. Theoretically promising agents may paradoxically increase disease activity (lenercept, infliximab), be associated with unforeseen adverse effects (e.g. roquinimex) or short-term favourable trends may reverse with prolonged follow-up (e.g. sulfasalzine). One should not be too enthusiastic about successful trials in animal models (TNFalpha blockers; oral tolerance; remyelinating effect of IVIg) nor be irritated by non-scientific media hype (deoxyspergualine; bone marrow transplantation). More selectivity can imply less efficacy (APL, superselective interventions like T-cell receptor vaccination) and antigen-related therapies can stimulate rather than inhibit encephalitogenic cells. Failed strategies are of high importance for a critical revision of assumed immunopathological mechanisms, their neuroimaging correlates, and for future trial design. Since failed trials add to our growing understanding of multiple sclerosis, 'misses' are nearly as important to the scientific process as the 'hits'.

Acute Transverse Myelitis Associated with Coxiella Burnetii Infection

Journal of Neurology. Oct, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12532936

The Non-classical MHC Molecule HLA-G Protects Human Muscle Cells from Immune-mediated Lysis: Implications for Myoblast Transplantation and Gene Therapy

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Jan, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12477705

HLA-G is a non-classical MHC class I molecule with highly limited tissue distribution which has been attributed chiefly immune-regulatory functions. We previously have reported that HLA-G is expressed in inflamed muscle in vivo and by cultured myoblasts in vitro. Here, we used the in vitro models of human myoblasts or TE671 muscle rhabdomyosarcoma cells to characterize the functional role of HLA-G for muscle immune cell interactions. Gene transfer of the two major isoforms of HLA-G (transmembranous HLA-G1 and soluble HLA-G5) into TE671 rendered these cells resistant to alloreactive lysis by direct inhibition of natural killer (NK) cells, and CD4 and CD8 T cells. Further, HLA-G reduced alloproliferation, interfered with effective priming of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells and reduced antigen-specific alloreactive lysis. HLA-G pre-induced on cultured myoblasts inhibited lysis by alloreactive peripheral blood mononuclear cells. This protection was reversed by a neutralizing HLA-G antibody. Interestingly, a few HLA-G-positive cells within a population of HLA-G-negative muscle target cells conveyed significant inhibitory effects on alloreactive lysis. Our results reveal further insights into the immunobiology of muscle and suggest that ectopic expression of HLA-G may promote the survival of transplanted myoblasts in the future treatment of hereditary muscle diseases. Further, HLA-G could represent a novel self-derived anti-inflammatory principle applicable in strategies against inflammatory aggression.

Disease-modifying Therapies in Multiple Sclerosis: an Update on Recent and Ongoing Trials and Future Strategies

Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. Apr, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12665424

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the prototype inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system and the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults exhibiting considerable clinical, radiological and pathological heterogeneity. Novel insights in the immunopathological processes, advances in biotechnology, development of powerful magnetic resonance imaging technologies together with improvements in clinical trial design led to a variety of evaluable therapeutic approaches. Therapy has changed dramatically over the past decade, yielding significant progress for the treatment of relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS. A substantial number of pivotal and preliminary reports continue to demonstrate encouraging new evidence that advances are being made in the care of MS patients. This review summarises recent progress with currently available disease-modifying therapies and - on the basis of present immunopathogenetic concepts - outlines ongoing studies as well as future treatment strategies.

Muscle Fibres and Cultured Muscle Cells Express the B7.1/2-related Inducible Co-stimulatory Molecule, ICOSL: Implications for the Pathogenesis of Inflammatory Myopathies

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. May, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12690043

Inducible co-stimulator ligand (ICOSL), a member of the B7 family of co-stimulatory molecules related to B7.1/2, regulates CD4 as well as CD8 T-cell responses via interaction with its receptor ICOS on activated T cells. Here we examined the expression and the functional relevance of ICOSL in human muscle cells in vivo and in vitro. We investigated 25 muscle biopsy specimens from patients with polymyositis, dermatomyositis, inclusion body myositis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and non-myopathic controls for ICOSL expression by immunohistochemistry. Normal muscle fibres constitutively express low levels of ICOSL. However, ICOSL expression is markedly increased in muscle fibres in inflammatory myopathies. Cell surface staining was most prominent in the contact areas between muscle fibres and inflammatory cells, which in turn show expression of ICOS as a marker of T-cell activation. Muscle endothelial cells show constitutive expression of ICOSL under normal and pathological conditions. We also detected mRNA and cell surface protein expression of ICOSL on myoblasts cultured from control subjects and patients as well as in TE671 muscle rhabdomyosarcoma cells. ICOSL expression was upregulated by tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), whereas interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) had no such effect. Co-culture experiments of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II-positive myoblasts with CD4 T cells together with superantigen demonstrated that the expression of muscle-related ICOSL has functional consequences: the production of Th1 (IFN-gamma) and Th2 cytokines [interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10] by CD4 T cells was markedly reduced in the presence of a neutralizing anti-ICOSL monoclonal antibody (mAb HIL-131), thus showing the importance of ICOSL co-stimulation for T-cell activation. Taken together, our results demonstrate that human muscle cells express ICOSL, a functional co-stimulatory molecule distinct from B7.1 and B7.2. ICOSL-ICOS interactions may play an important role in inflammatory myopathies, providing further evidence for the antigen-presenting capacity of muscle cells.

Human Herpesvirus 6 in Serum and Spinal Fluid of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis?

Archives of Neurology. Apr, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12707085

Antigen Processing and Presentation in Human Muscle: Cathepsin S is Critical for MHC Class II Expression and Upregulated in Inflammatory Myopathies

Journal of Neuroimmunology. May, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12742663

The immunological properties of muscle cells are of critical importance for both the pathogenesis of inflammatory muscle disorders as well as for understanding and controlling novel therapeutic strategies. Muscle cells can present antigens to both CD4 and CD8 cells. However, the cellular biochemistry of antigen processing and presentation by muscle cells is not clear. Cathepsins play a central role in the generation of antigenic peptide and control transport and maturation of MHC class II molecules. To further elucidate the molecular basis for the MHC class II-mediated antigen presentation by muscle cells, we here analyzed cultured human myoblasts and biopsies from inflammatory myopathies with respect to the expression and function of the constituents of the MHC class II antigen presentation machinery. We identified cathepsin S (CatS) as the dominant endocytic protease that is specifically upregulated under inflammatory conditions to significant mRNA levels, synchronously with HLA-DR, -DM and the class II invariant chain (Ii), both in muscle biopsies from affected individuals with inflammatory myopathies and in human myoblasts cultured in the presence of IFN-gamma. This led to translation of the mature CatS polypeptide that was enzymatically active in human myoblasts under inflammatory conditions. By contrast, expression of CatL and CatB was unaffected by IFN-gamma at both the expression and activity levels. CatS activity is required for efficient surface display of MHC class II in this cell type: functional inhibition of CatS using a CatS-selective inhibitor reduced the levels of surface class II alphabeta:peptide complexes on stimulated myoblasts by almost 50%. Surprisingly, and in contrast to B cells and dendritic cells, this was not due to inefficient processing of Ii in the absence of CatS, which was unaffected by the elimination of CatS activity. We therefore conclude that CatS is involved in the regulation of class II expression in human myoblasts independently from Ii processing.

The CD28 Related Molecule ICOS: T Cell Modulation in the Presence and Absence of B7.1/2 and Regulational Expression in Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Jul, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12864987

Costimulatory signals play a key role in regulating T cell activation and are believed to have decisive influence in the inciting and perpetuating cellular effector mechanisms in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Inducible costimulator protein (ICOS), a recently identified member of the CD28-family, presumably affects the differentiation of Th1/Th2 cells after primary activation and modulates the immune response of effector/memory T cells. This study examines the expression and functional role of ICOS costimulation in healthy donors and patients with MS. After nonspecific or antigen-specific stimulation, ICOS is preferentially expressed on CD4 Th2-T cells. ICOS-costimulation affects the production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines both in the absence and presence of B7/CD28 costimulation, thus suggesting that ICOS costimulation can modulate cytokine secretion also in a CD28-independent manner. Levels of constitutive and inducible ICOS expression on human T cell subsets from peripheral blood were quantified in healthy donors and patients with MS. Constitutive expression of ICOS on T cells varies between 0.1% and 42.3%. There were no significant differences between both groups in the baseline expression or inducibility of ICOS on CD4 or CD8 T cells. ICOS expression could be demonstrated on CSF T lymphocytes in patients with acute MS relapses but was not elevated compared with peripheral blood. In essence we show that ICOS is upregulated on human T cells after stimulation and can modulate both Th1 and Th2 cytokine production in the absence and presence of B7-costimulation. In MS patients we demonstrate the functionality of the ICOS costimulatory pathway. Potential implications of ICOSL/ICOS interactions for MS immunopathogenesis are discussed.

Human Muscle Cells Express a B7-related Molecule, B7-H1, with Strong Negative Immune Regulatory Potential: a Novel Mechanism of Counterbalancing the Immune Attack in Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12923066

B7-H1 is a novel B7 family protein attributed to costimulatory and immune regulatory functions. Here we report that human myoblasts cultured from control subjects and patients with inflammatory myopathies as well as TE671 muscle rhabdomyosarcoma cells express high levels of B7-H1 after stimulation with the inflammatory cytokine IFN-gamma. Coculture experiments of MHC class I/II-positive myoblasts with CD4 and CD8 T cells in the presence of antigen demonstrated the functional consequences of muscle-related B7-H1 expression: production of inflammatory cytokines, IFN-gamma and IL-2, by CD4 as well CD8 T cells was markedly enhanced in the presence of a neutralizing anti-B7-H1 antibody. This observation was paralleled by an augmented expression of the T cell activation markers CD25, ICOS, and CD69, thus showing B7-H1-mediated inhibition of T cell activation. Further, we investigated 23 muscle biopsy specimens from patients with polymyositis (PM), inclusion body myositis (IBM), dermatomyositis (DM), and nonmyopathic controls for B7-H1 expression by immunohistochemistry: B7-H1 was expressed in PM, IBM, and DM specimens but not in noninflammatory and nonmyopathic controls. Staining was predominantly localized to areas of strong inflammation and to muscle cells as well as mononuclear cells. These data highlight the immune regulatory properties of muscle cells and suggest that B7-H1 expression represents an inhibitory mechanism induced upon inflammatory stimuli and aimed at protecting muscle fibers from immune aggression.

Action of Treosulfan in Myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein-induced Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Human Lymphocytes

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14597095

Treosulfan (dihydroxybusulfane, DHB, L-threitol-1,4-bis [methane sulfonate]) is a cytostatic alkylating agent with a favorable profile of side effects. Myelin-oligodendrocyte-glycoprotein (MOG)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in DA (RT1(av1)) rats resembles multiple sclerosis (MS) in many aspects since central nervous system (CNS) pathology shows inflammation, demyelination and axonal loss. Moreover, DA rats develop a chronic disease course. We here explored the efficacy of treosulfan in the treatment of MOG-induced EAE in DA rats. A single dose of treosulfan (1 g/kg body weight i.p.) at the day of immunization significantly reduced disease severity compared with PBS-treated controls. In addition, after disease had evolved, a single dose of treosulfan (1 g/kg body weight) given i.p. on day 14 post-immunization (p.i.) improved long-term disease outcome. Treatment with treosulfan resulted in reduced mRNA expression of IL-12 and interferon (IFN)-gamma in draining lymph nodes and reduced numbers of IFN-gamma-secreting MOG-specific T cells. No myelosuppression was observed. Treosulfan was applied to different subsets of cultured human blood mononuclear cells in order to asses the effects on human immune cells in vitro: Treosulfan reduced proliferative capacity and increased apoptosis in T cells and antigen-presenting cells. In light of the beneficial effects in EAE in vivo and the in vitro immunosuppressive and pro-apoptotic capacities in cultured human mononuclear immune effector cells, these data may support a potential role of treosulfan, an agent with high immunosuppressive capacity and low toxicity, in the treatment of MS.

Express and Protect Yourself: the Potential Role of HLA-G on Muscle Cells and in Inflammatory Myopathies

Human Immunology. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14602235

Muscle is the site or the target of immunologic injury in several diseases. Whereas under physiologic conditions muscle fibers are negative for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigens, these are upregulated under pathologic conditions, thus rendering muscle a possible target for the recognition by cytotoxic CD8 T cells. Cultured muscle cells are capable of presenting antigens to CD4 and CD8 T cells, further indicating that muscle fibers in vivo are critically involved in the initiating or perpetuating steps of inflammatory responses. The finding that muscle fibers in autoimmune inflammatory myopathies in vivo and cultured muscle cells in vitro express the nonclassical major histocompatibility complex molecule HLA-G raises several hypothesis concerning its possible pathophysiologic role. We review present knowledge on the functional consequences of muscle-related HLA-G and provide concepts of its relevance under pathologic conditions. We further speculate on the potential therapeutic implications of HLA-G that relate to special approaches such as myoblast transplantation or strategies against inflammatory aggression in general.

Expression of the B7-related Molecule ICOSL by Human Glioma Cells in Vitro and in Vivo

Glia. Dec, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14603470

Human glioblastoma is a highly lethal tumor known for its capability of interfering with effective antitumor immune responses. Costimulatory signals are of critical relevance in both the inductive and effector phases of immune responses. Inducible costimulator-ligand (ICOSL), a member of the B7 family of costimulatory molecules related to CD80/CD86, regulates CD4 as well as CD8 T-cell responses via interaction with its receptor, ICOS, on activated T cells. We report the expression of ICOSL by glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. In contrast to CD80 (B7.1) and CD86 (B7.2), ICOSL protein and mRNA was expressed in 7 of 12 glioma cell lines. ICOSL expression is upregulated by the inflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), whereas interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) has no such effect. Further, immunohistochemical analysis of human brain tumors demonstrates the expression of ICOSL in three of four tissue samples. ICOSL expression is functional in that a neutralizing ICOSL antibody (HIL-131) reduces Th1 and Th2 cytokine levels in cocultures of peripheral blood lymphocytes or T-cell subsets (CD4 and CD8) with glioma cells. However, ICOSL gene transfer into glioma cells does not alter their immunogenicity under primary or secondary alloreactive coculture assays.

Expression of the B7-related Molecule B7-H1 by Glioma Cells: a Potential Mechanism of Immune Paralysis

Cancer Research. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14612546

Human glioblastoma is a highly lethal tumor that is known for its immune inhibitory capabilities. B7-homologue 1 (B7-H1), a recently identified homologue of B7.1/2 (CD80/86), has been described to exert costimulatory and immune regulatory functions. We investigated the expression and the functional activity of B7-H1 in human glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. Although lacking B7.1/2 (CD80/86), all 12 glioma cell lines constitutively expressed B7-H1 mRNA and protein. Exposure to IFN-gamma strongly enhanced B7-H1 expression. Immunohistochemical analysis of malignant glioma specimens revealed strong B7-H1 expression in all 10 samples examined, whereas no B7-H1 expression could be detected on normal brain tissues. To elucidate the functional significance of glioma cell-related B7-H1 expression, we performed coculture experiments of glioma cells with alloreactive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Glioma-related B7-H1 was identified as a strong inhibitor of CD4+ as well as CD8+ T-cell activation as assessed by increased cytokine production (IFN-gamma, interleukin-2, and interleukin-10) and expression levels of the T-cell activation marker (CD69) in the presence of a neutralizing antibody against B7-H1 (mAb 5H1). B7-H1 expression may thus significantly influence the outcome of T-cell tumor cell interactions and represents a novel mechanism by which glioma cells evade immune recognition and destruction.

Modulation of Neuronal Activity by the Endogenous Pentapeptide QYNAD

The European Journal of Neuroscience. Nov, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14656318

Inflammation and demyelination both contribute to the neurological deficits characteristic of multiple sclerosis. Neurological dysfunctions are attributable to inflammatory demyelination and, in addition, to soluble factors such as nitric oxide, cytokines and antibodies. QYNAD, an endogenous pentapeptide identified in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with demyelinating disorders, has been proposed to promote axonal dysfunction by blocking sodium channels. The present study aimed at characterizing the properties of QYNAD in acutely isolated thalamic neurons in vitro. QYNAD, but not a scrambled peptide (NYDQA), blocked sodium channels in neurons by shifting the steady-state inactivation to more negative potentials. Blocking properties followed a dose-response curve with a maximum effect at 10 microm. A fluorescently labelled QYNAD analogue with retained biological activity specifically stained thalamic neurons, positive for type II sodium channels, thus demonstrating the specificity of QYNAD binding. Our study confirms and extends previous observations describing QYNAD as a potent sodium channel-blocking agent. These data as well as our preliminary observations in in vivo experiments in an animal model of inflammatory CNS demyelination warrant further in vivo studies in order to clarify the exact pathogenetic role of QYNAD in inflammatory neurological diseases.

A Novel Homozygous Missense Mutation in the GNE Gene of a Patient with Quadriceps-sparing Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy Associated with Muscle Inflammation

Neuromuscular Disorders : NMD. Dec, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14678807

An adult-onset hereditary inclusion body myopathy with sparing of the quadriceps muscle was originally described in Iranian Jews and assigned to a locus on chromosome 9p12-p13. Recently, mutations of the UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (GNE) gene were reported to cause hereditary inclusion body myopathy and one type of distal myopathy in a world-wide distribution. Importantly, the lack of muscle inflammation was used to distinguish hereditary inclusion body myopathy from the sporadic form of inclusion body myopathy. We report a case of a quadriceps-sparing myopathy in a non-Jewish, Iranian patient with a high degree of muscle inflammation. A novel homozygous G-to-A mutation (128933G-->A) in exon 7 changing a valine to isoleucine (V367I) in the epimerase domain of the GNE gene was found. We conclude that muscle inflammation is not sufficient to exclude the diagnosis of hereditary inclusion body myopathy.

Hide-and-seek in the Brain: a Role for HLA-G Mediating Immune Privilege for Glioma Cells

Seminars in Cancer Biology. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14708714

This review summarizes the current knowledge on the expression and functional role of HLA-G in normal CNS cells and brain tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. The CNS has classically been viewed as an immune-privileged organ. Here we discuss some of the particularities of anti-tumoral responses within this compartment. Special emphasis is dedicated to the possible role of the non-classical MHC molecule HLA-G as an alternative mechanism of immune escape. We review the mechanisms how glioma cell-derived HLA-G may paralyze the immune system and which cellular subsets of the immune system are affected. Possible therapeutic implications derived from these observations include the targeting of HLA-G expression within the framework of inducing glioma-specific immunity.

Cathepsin G, and Not the Asparagine-specific Endoprotease, Controls the Processing of Myelin Basic Protein in Lysosomes from Human B Lymphocytes

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15100291

The asparagine-specific endoprotease (AEP) controls lysosomal processing of the potential autoantigen myelin basic protein (MBP) by human B lymphoblastoid cells, a feature implicated in the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. In this study, we demonstrate that freshly isolated human B lymphocytes lack significant AEP activity and that cleavage by AEP is dispensable for proteolytic processing of MBP in this type of cell. Instead, cathepsin (Cat) G, a serine protease that is not endogenously synthesized by B lymphocytes, is internalized from the plasma membrane and present in lysosomes from human B cells where it represents a major functional constituent of the proteolytic machinery. CatG initialized and dominated the destruction of intact MBP by B cell-derived lysosomal extracts, degrading the immunodominant MBP epitope and eliminating both its binding to MHC class II and a MBP-specific T cell response. Degradation of intact MBP by CatG was not restricted to a lysosomal environment, but was also performed by soluble CatG. Thus, the abundant protease CatG might participate in eliminating the immunodominant determinant of MBP. Internalization of exogenous CatG represents a novel mechanism of professional APC to acquire functionally dominant proteolytic activity that complements the panel of endogenous lysosomal enzymes.

Antigen Recognition Properties of a Vgamma1.3Vdelta2-T-cell Receptor from a Rare Variant of Polymyositis

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Jul, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15223249

Previously we partially characterized an autoreactive human Vgamma1.3Vdelta2-T-cell receptor (TCR) that had originally been identified in muscle of a patient with an unusual form of polymyositis. This TCR recognizes a muscle-associated auto-antigen in a CDR3-dependent, MHC non-restricted way. Here we show that this TCR also recognizes an antigen from Escherichia coli. Like the muscle-associated mammalian antigen, the bacterial antigen is recognized in a CDR3-dependent, but MHC-non-restricted way. Both antigens have strikingly similar molecular characteristics suggesting that their epitopes are at least very similar. The dissociation kinetics of the bacterial antigen-TCR complexes was investigated by surface plasmon resonance using soluble single-chain TCR molecules produced in COS-7 cells. The measured dissociation rate constant (k(off)=5.7 x 10(-3) s(-1)) shows that the complexes dissociate more slowly than most previously described antigen/alphabeta-TCR complexes, but much faster than antibody/antigen pairs. These results (a) provide further insight into the molecular properties of this unusual TCR, and (b) should help in future attempts to identify the elusive target antigen(s).

Interferon-beta Enhances Monocyte and Dendritic Cell Expression of B7-H1 (PD-L1), a Strong Inhibitor of Autologous T-cell Activation: Relevance for the Immune Modulatory Effect in Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Oct, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15342209

Antigen-presenting cells (APC) are considered to play a critical role in promoting the (re)activation of potentially autoreactive T cells in multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS). B7-H1 (PD-L1) is a novel member of the B7 family proteins which exert costimulatory and immune regulatory functions. Here we characterize the expression and functional activity of B7-H1 expressed on monocytes and dendritic cells (DC) of healthy donors and MS patients. B7-H1 is constitutively expressed on monocytes and differentially matured DC, but not on B cells. IFN-beta, the principle immune modulatory agent used for the treatment of MS, strongly enhances B7-H1 expression on monocytes and semi-matured DC, but not B cells, in vitro. Importantly, B7-H1 expressed on APC strongly inhibits autologous CD4 T-cell activation. Neutralization of B7-H1 on monocytes or differentially matured monocyte-derived DC markedly increases the secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, IFN-gamma and IL-2, T-cell proliferation, and the expression of T-cell activation markers. B7-H1 exhibits strong inhibitory effects when expressed on monocytes, immature or semi-mature DC, but less so when expressed on fully matured DC. B7-H1-dependent immune inhibition is in part mediated by CD4/CD25+ regulatory T cells. There is no difference in the baseline expression levels of monocytic B7-H1 between untreated MS patients and healthy donors. However, both groups show a significant concentration-dependent up-regulation of B7-H1 mRNA and protein in response to IFN-beta in vitro. Serial measurements of B7-H1 mRNA in MS patients before and 6 months after initiation of IFN-beta therapy corroborated the relevance of these results in vivo: Nine of nine patients showed a significant increase in B7-H1 mRNA levels after 6 months of IFN-beta therapy (median 1.04 vs. 8.78; p<0.05, two-sided t-test). Accordingly, protein expression of B7-H1 on monocytes was up-regulated after 24 h of IFN-beta application. In summary, B7-H1 expressed on APC acts as a strong inhibitor of autologous CD4 T-cell activation and may thus contribute to the maintenance of peripheral immune tolerance. IFN-beta up-regulates B7-H1 in vitro and in MS patients in vivo and might represent a novel mechanism how IFN-beta acts as a negative modulator on APC T-cell interactions in the periphery.

Monocyte-derived HLA-G Acts As a Strong Inhibitor of Autologous CD4 T Cell Activation and is Upregulated by Interferon-beta in Vitro and in Vivo: Rationale for the Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15652415

Peripheral antigen presenting cells (APCs) contribute to the maintenance of immune tolerance and are considered to play a critical role in promoting the (re)activation of autoreactive T cells in multiple sclerosis (MS). Interferon-beta (IFN-beta) is the principle immune-modulatory agent used in the treatment of MS, but its mechanism of action remains elusive. HLA-G is a non-classical MHC molecule (MHC class Ib) attributed chiefly immune-regulatory functions. We here investigated the role of monocyte-derived HLA-G in the immune-regulatory processes of MS and its implications for current immune-modulatory therapies. Monocytes constitutively express cell surface HLA-G1 and soluble HLA-G5. Comparison of monocytic HLA-G expression between patients with relapsing-remitting MS (n=17) and healthy donors (n=20) revealed significantly lower levels of HLA-G1 protein in MS patients. However, both groups showed a significant upregulation of HLA-G in response to IFN-beta in vitro. Serial measurements of HLA-G mRNA levels in MS patients before and during IFN-beta therapy corroborated the relevance of these results in vivo: 1 month after initiation of IFN-beta1b therapy (n=9), HLA-G1 and HLA-G5 were significantly increased compared to baseline levels and remained elevated during treatment for 6 months (n=3). Importantly, functional experiments demonstrated that monocyte-derived HLA-G inhibits both Th1 (IFN-gamma, IL-2) and Th2 (IL-10) cytokine production by antigen-stimulated autologous CD4 T cells. Soluble HLA-G added to antigen-specific T cell lines (TCLs) has similar effects on the release of cytokines and reduces T cell proliferation. Although both IFN-beta and IFN-gamma strongly enhance HLA-G1 and HLA-G5 expression by monocytes in vitro, IFN-beta leads to a stronger relative upregulation of HLA-G compared to classical MHC class I molecules than stimulation with IFN-gamma. Taken together, monocyte-derived HLA-G mediates the inhibition of autologous CD4 T cell activation and might be involved in immune-regulatory pathways in the pathogenesis of MS. We conclude that some desirable immune-modulatory effects of INF-beta might be accomplished via the upregulation of the immune-tolerogenic molecule HLA-G.

Diffusion Abnormality in Balo's Concentric Sclerosis: Clues for the Pathogenesis

European Neurology. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15746544

Localization of UDP-GlcNAc 2-epimerase/ManAc Kinase (GNE) in the Golgi Complex and the Nucleus of Mammalian Cells

Experimental Cell Research. Apr, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15748884

The bifunctional enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine-2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (GNE) is essential for early embryonic development and catalyzes the rate limiting step in sialic acid biosynthesis. Although epimerase and kinase activities have been attributed to GNE, little is known about the regulation, differential expression, and subcellular localization of GNE in vivo. Mutations in GNE cause a rare inherited muscle disorder in humans called hereditary inclusion body myopathy (HIBM). However, the role of GNE in HIBM pathogenesis has not been defined yet. Here, we show that the GNE protein is expressed in various mammalian cells and tissues with highest levels found in cancer cells and liver. In human skeletal muscle, GNE protein is developmentally regulated: high levels are found in immature myoblasts but low levels in mature skeletal muscle. The GNE protein colocalizes with resident proteins of the Golgi compartment in a variety of human cells including muscle. Drug-induced disruption of the Golgi and subsequent recovery reveals co-distribution of GNE along with Golgi-targeted proteins. This subcellular localization of GNE is in good agreement with its established role as the key enzyme of sialic acid biosynthesis, since the sialylation of glycoconjugates takes place in the Golgi complex. Surprisingly, GNE is also detected in the nucleus. Upon nocodazole treatment, GNE redistributes to the cytoplasm suggesting that GNE may act as a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein. A regulatory role for GNE shifting between the nuclear and the Golgi compartment is proposed. Further insight into GNE regulation may promote the understanding of HIBM pathogenesis.

Microglial Expression of the B7 Family Member B7 Homolog 1 Confers Strong Immune Inhibition: Implications for Immune Responses and Autoimmunity in the CNS

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Mar, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15758163

Inflammation of the CNS is usually locally limited to avoid devastating consequences. Critical players involved in this immune regulatory process are the resident immune cells of the brain, the microglia. Interactions between the growing family of B7 costimulatory ligands and their receptors are increasingly recognized as important pathways for costimulation and/or inhibition of immune responses. Human and mouse microglial cells constitutively express B7 homolog 1 (B7-H1) in vitro. However, under inflammatory conditions [presence of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) or T-helper 1 supernatants], a significant upregulation of B7-H1 was detectable. Expression levels of B7-H1 protein on microglial cells were substantially higher compared with astrocytes or splenocytes. Coculture experiments of major histocompatibility complex class II-positive antigen-presenting cells (APC) with syngeneic T cells in the presence of antigen demonstrated the functional consequences of B7-H1 expression on T-cell activation. In the presence of a neutralizing anti-B7-H1 antibody, both the production of inflammatory cytokines (IFN-gamma and interleukin-2) and the upregulation of activation markers (inducible costimulatory signal) by T cells were markedly enhanced. Interestingly, this effect was clearly more pronounced when microglial cells were used as APC, compared with astrocytes or splenocytes. Furthermore, B7-H1 was highly upregulated during the course of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced and proteolipid protein-induced experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in vivo. Expression was predominantly localized to areas of strongest inflammation and could be colocalized with microglial cells/macrophages as well as T cells. Together, our data propose microglial B7-H1 as an important immune inhibitory molecule capable of downregulating T-cell activation in the CNS and thus confining immunopathological damage.

Death Receptor-mediated Apoptosis in Human Malignant Glioma Cells: Modulation by the CD40/CD40L System

Journal of Neuroimmunology. May, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15833357

CD40, a TNF-R-related cell surface receptor, is shown here to be expressed by glioma cells in vitro and in vivo. Glioma cell lines expressing low levels of CD40 at the cell surface resist cytotoxic effects of CD40L. CD40 gene transfer sensitizes glioma cells to CD40L. Inhibition of protein synthesis potentiates cell death which involves CD40 clustering and caspases 8 and 3 processing. CD40-transfected LN-18 cells acquire resistance to CD95L. In contrast, subtoxic concentrations of CD40L strongly sensitize these cells for TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. Bispecific CD40xCD95 antibodies specifically kill glioma cells, disclosing the property of endogenous CD40 to facilitate death signalling.

A PD-1 Polymorphism is Associated with Disease Progression in Multiple Sclerosis

Annals of Neurology. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15912506

T cells are considered to play a pivotal role in orchestrating the self-reactive immune responses in multiple sclerosis (MS). Programmed death 1 (PD-1) is a member of the B7/CD28 superfamily of costimulatory molecules exerting inhibitory functions on T cells. Recently, an intronic 7146G/A polymorphism within the PD-1 gene was described and suggested to be associated with autoimmunity. We investigated whether this genetic polymorphism is a genetic modifier for risk and progression of MS. Blood samples from 939 German MS patients (mean age, 39 years; range, 13-71; 566 patients [60%] with relapsing-remitting MS, 279 (30%) with secondary, and 94 (10%) with primary progressive MS) and 272 healthy white controls were tested. Genotyping was performed by polymerase chain reaction and restriction enzyme digestion; results were confirmed by automatic sequencing. A significant association of the mutated allele with a progressive disease course was detected (44% 7146G vs 56% 7146A, chi(2) p = 0.002). Consequences of the PD-1 mutation for T-cell function were assessed ex vivo in some patients using microsphere-stimulated peripheral blood lymphocytes and purified CD4 cells. Importantly, PD-1-mediated inhibition of T-cell cytokine secretion (interferon-gamma) is impaired in patients carrying the PD-1 polymorphism. In conclusion, our data suggest that PD-1 polymorphism is a genetic modifier of the progression of MS, possibly through inducing a partial defect in PD-1-mediated inhibition of T-cell activation.

Immunobiology of Muscle: Advances in Understanding an Immunological Microenvironment

Trends in Immunology. Jul, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15922662

Skeletal muscle, which is the largest cellular compartment of the body, lacks detectable MHC expression under physiological conditions. Therefore, immune reactions triggered by, or directed against, muscle cells proceed along specific pathways. Recently, the expression and functioning of classical MHC, non-classical MHC, adhesion and co-stimulatory molecules have been shown to support the concept that muscle cells can act as facultative antigen-presenting cells and should be considered as active participants, rather than passive targets, of immune reactions. Here, we summarize current knowledge on the immunological capabilities of skeletal muscle cells and discuss how these characteristics might contribute to inflammatory muscle disorders, as well as therapeutic strategies, such as gene or myoblast transfer.

Expression of the Immune-tolerogenic Major Histocompatibility Molecule HLA-G in Multiple Sclerosis: Implications for CNS Immunity

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16123145

HLA-G is a non-classical major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen with highly limited tissue distribution under non-pathological conditions. Although capable of acting as a peptide-presenting molecule, its strong immune-inhibitory properties identify HLA-G as a mediator of immune tolerance with specific relevance at immune-privileged sites such as trophoblast or thymus. To assess the role of HLA-G in CNS immunity, we investigated its expression in brain specimens from patients with multiple sclerosis (n = 11), meningitis (n = 2) and Alzheimer's disease (n = 2) and non-pathological CNS controls (n = 6). Furthermore, cultured human microglial cells and CSF of patients with multiple sclerosis and controls were assessed. Furthermore, CSF from MS patients and controls, as well as cultured human microglial cells were assessed. Using several HLA-G specific mAb and immunohistochemistry, HLA-G protein was found strongly expressed in brain specimens from patients with multiple sclerosis while it was rarely detectable in the non-pathological control specimens. In multiple sclerosis brain specimens, HLA-G immunoreactivity was observed in acute plaques, in chronic active plaques, in perilesional areas as well as in normal appearing white matter. In all areas microglial cells, macrophages, and in part endothelial cells were identified as the primary cellular source of expression. HLA-G was also found in other disease entities (meningitis, Alzheimer's specimens) where expression correlated to activation and MHC class II expression on microglial cells. Importantly, ILT2, a receptor for HLA-G, was also found in multiple sclerosis brain specimens thus emphasizing the relevance of this inhibitory pathway in vivo. HLA-G mRNA and protein expression and regulation could also be corroborated on cultured human microglial cells in vitro. Further, expression of HLA-G in the CSF of multiple sclerosis patients and controls was analysed by flow cytometry and ELISA. Monocytes represented the main source of cellular HLA-G expression in the CSF. Corresponding to the observations with the tissue specimens, CSF mean levels of soluble HLA-G were significantly higher in multiple sclerosis than in non-inflammatory controls (171 +/- 31 versus 39 +/- 10 U/ml; P = 0.0001). The demonstration of HLA-G and its receptor ILT2 on CNS cells and in areas of microglia activation implicate HLA-G as a contributor to the fundamental mechanisms regulating immune reactivity in the CNS. This pathway may act as an inhibitory feedback aimed to downregulate the deleterious effects of T-cell infiltration in neuroinflammation.

Multiple Sclerosis: Mitoxantrone Promotes Differential Effects on Immunocompetent Cells in Vitro

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16171875

Mitoxantrone is an anti-neoplastic anthracenedione derivative that, based on its immunosuppressive properties, is approved for the treatment of severe forms of relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). Whether the beneficial clinical effects of mitoxantrone in MS are due to a broad immunosuppression, or whether there is a specific mechanism of action remains unknown. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from untreated or interferon-beta-treated patients with MS or from healthy donors were stimulated in the presence or absence of mitoxantrone. Irrespective of the source of the cells and the cellular phenotype, mitoxantrone inhibited proliferation of activated PBMCs, B lymphocytes, or antigen-specific T-cell lines (TCLs) stimulated on antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in a dose-dependent manner. For functional analysis, TCLs or APCs were incubated separately with mitoxantrone. Pre-incubation of APC more effectively impaired TCL proliferation than pre-incubation of TCLs. Production of cytokines, expression of activation markers, matrix metalloproteinases, and chemokine receptors were not influenced substantially by mitoxantrone. In contrast, in dendritic cells (DCs), mitoxantrone interfered with the antigen-presenting capabilities. For evaluation of apoptotic cell death of target cells, annexin-V-conjugates and a DNA fragmentation assay were applied. Mitoxantrone induced apoptosis of PBMCs, monocytes and DCs at low concentrations, whereas higher doses caused cell lysis. Our observations suggest that the beneficial effects of mitoxantrone in MS result (i) from its immunosuppressive action based on nonspecific cytotoxic effects on lymphocytes, (ii) by inducing programmed cell death of professional APCs, such as DCs.

Muscle-derived Positive and Negative Regulators of the Immune Response

Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16224248

Recent characterization of the expression and functioning of muscle-derived positive and negative regulators of the immune response will be highlighted in view of the concept that muscle cells can act as facultative antigen-presenting cells and should be considered as active participants rather than passive targets of immune reactions.

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis: an Update

Archives of Neurology. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16286539

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) is a monophasic autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that typically follows a febrile infection or a vaccination. Children are predominantly affected. A plethora of viral and bacterial pathogens and a number of vaccinations have been associated with ADEM. Experimental animal studies indicate that both primary and secondary autoimmune responses contribute to central nervous system inflammation and subsequent demyelination. The clinical diagnosis of ADEM is strongly suggested by a close temporal relationship between an infectious incident or an immunization and the onset of leukoencephalopathic neurological symptoms. Paraclinical tests may support the diagnosis. Particularly helpful are acute signs of newly developed extensive, multifocal, subcortical white matter abnormalities on magnetic resonance images of the brain. The cerebrospinal fluid may disclose a mild lymphocytic pleocytosis and elevated albumin levels. Oligoclonal bands are not always present in ADEM and, if so, may be transient. The major differential diagnosis of ADEM is multiple sclerosis. Treatment options for ADEM consist of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents. In general, the disease is self-limiting and the prognostic outcome favorable. In the absence of widely accepted clinical or paraclinical diagnostic guidelines, a number of recently conducted observational case series have substantially broadened our understanding about the clinical phenotype, diagnosis, and prognosis of ADEM.

Expression of Toll-like Receptors by Human Muscle Cells in Vitro and in Vivo: TLR3 is Highly Expressed in Inflammatory and HIV Myopathies, Mediates IL-8 Release and Up-regulation of NKG2D-ligands

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Jan, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16293707

The particular microenvironment of the skeletal muscle can be the site of complex immune reactions. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) mediate inflammatory stimuli from pathogens and endogenous danger signals and link the innate and adaptive immune system. We investigated innate immune responses in human muscle. Analyzing TLR1-9 mRNA in cultured myoblasts and rhabdomyosarcoma cells, we found constitutive expression of TLR3. The TLR3 ligand Poly (I:C), a synthetic analog of dsRNA, and IFN-gamma increased TLR3 levels. TLR3 was mainly localized intracellularly and regulated at the protein level. Poly (I:C) challenge 1) activated nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB), 2) increased IL-8 release, and 3) up-regulated NKG2D ligands and NK-cell-mediated lysis of muscle cells. We examined muscle biopsy specimens of 6 HIV patients with inclusion body myositis/polymyositis (IBM/PM), 7 cases of sporadic IBM and 9 nonmyopathic controls for TLR3 expression. TLR3 mRNA levels were elevated in biopsy specimens from patients with IBM and HIV-myopathies. Muscle fibers in inflammatory myopathies expressed TLR3 in close proximity of infiltrating mononuclear cells. Taken together, our study suggests an important role of TLR3 in the immunobiology of muscle, and has substantial implications for the understanding of the pathogenesis of inflammatory myopathies or therapeutic interventions like vaccinations or gene transfer.

Multiple Sclerosis: Advances, Excitements, Disenchantments

Lancet Neurology. Jan, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16361006

The Contribution of TWIK-related Acid-sensitive K+-containing Channels to the Function of Dorsal Lateral Geniculate Thalamocortical Relay Neurons

Molecular Pharmacology. Apr, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16424077

A genetic knockout was used to determine the specific contribution of TWIK-related acid-sensitive K+ (TASK)-1 channels to the function of dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (DLG) thalamocortical relay (TC) neurons. Disruption of TASK-1 function produced an approximately 19% decrease in amplitude of the standing outward current (ISO) and a 3 +/- 1-mV depolarizing shift in resting membrane potential (Vrest) of DLG neurons. We estimated that current through TASK-1 homodimers or TASK-1/TASK-3 heterodimers contribute(s) approximately one third of the current sensitive to TASK channel modulators in DLG TC neurons. The effects of the TASK channel blocker bupivacaine (20 microM), of muscarine (50 microM), and of H+ on ISO were reduced to approximately 60%, 59%, and shifted to more acidic pH values, respectively. The blocking effect of anandamide on ISO [30 microM; 23 +/- 3% current decrease in wild type (WT)] was absent in TASK-1 knockout (TASK-1-/-) mice (9 +/- 6% current increase). Comparable results were obtained with the more stable anand-amide derivative methanandamide (20 microM; 20 +/- 2% decrease in WT; 4 +/- 6% increase in TASK-1-/-). Current-clamp recordings revealed a muscarine-induced shift in TC neuron activity from burst to tonic firing in both mouse genotypes. Electrocorticograms and sleep/wake times were unchanged in TASK-1-/- mice. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate a significant contribution of TASK-1 channels to ISO in DLG TC neurons, although the genetic knockout of TASK-1 did not produce severe deficits in the thalamocortical system.

Blockade of PD-L1 (B7-H1) Augments Human Tumor-specific T Cell Responses in Vitro

International Journal of Cancer. Journal International Du Cancer. Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16482562

Human tumors frequently escape immune destruction, despite the presence of cytotoxic T cells (CTL) recognizing tumor-associated antigens (TAA). We have previously shown that programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), a recently identified ligand of the B7 superfamily, is expressed on murine tumors and can inhibit antitumor immune responses. To evaluate the clinical relevance of our animal model findings, we examined human tumors and tumor-specific T cells. We found PD-L1 to be constitutively expressed on human renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cell lines and upregulated on human melanoma cell lines upon exposure to interferon-gamma. Similarly, we found binding of anti-PD-L1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) on frozen sections from RCC and melanomas, but not on normal tissues. The corresponding inhibitory receptor of PD-L1, PD-1, revealed a higher expression on tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes than on peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) from melanoma patients upon specific antigen stimulation. Stimulation of PBL from healthy donors with peptide-loaded dendritic cells in the presence of anti-PD-L1 mAb altered neither the total T cell numbers after expansion, nor the percentage of peptide-specific CTL, when providing a T cell help by addition of cytokines. However, when stimulating TAA-specific CTL and T helper cells with Ag-pulsed dendritic cells in the absence of exogenous cytokines, PD-L1 blockade increased the cytokine production. Similar to the data achieved in the murine system, the blockade of PD-L1 on human tumors resulted in enhanced cytolytic activity of TAA-specific CTLs and cytokine production of TAA-specific T helper cells when interacting directly with the tumor. In summary, our data suggest that PD-L1/PD-1 interactions negatively regulate T cell effector functions predominantly in the absence of exogenous cytokine support, indicating an important role for this pathway in tumor evasion.

No Effect of Immunomodulatory Therapy in Focal Epilepsy with Positive Glutamate Receptor Type 3--antibodies

Seizure : the Journal of the British Epilepsy Association. Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16621617

Antibodies against the glutamate receptor type 3-(GluR3) have been found in association with Rasmussen's encephalitis (RE) but were also detected in patients with non-inflammatory focal epilepsies. We report the case of an 18-year-old patient with treatment refractory left mesial temporal lobe epilepsy accompanied by high levels of GluR3 antibodies. Different from experiences in patients with RE immunomodulatory therapy by use of intravenous gammaglobulines neither altered GluR3 serum levels nor had any effect on seizure frequency in our patient. Interestingly, GluR3 serum levels remained positive after successful surgical intervention leading to patient's seizure freedom.

The Role of Leukemia-derived B7-H1 (PD-L1) in Tumor-T-cell Interactions in Humans

Experimental Hematology. Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16797416

Expression of the B7 homolog B7-H1 (PD1-Ligand) has been proposed to enable tumor cells to evade immune surveillance. Recently, B7-H1 on murine leukemia cells was reported to mediate resistance to cytolytic T-cell destruction. We here investigate the expression and function of the B7 homolog B7-H1 in human leukemia.

Cytoplasmic Translocation of Olig2 in Adult Glial Progenitors Marks the Generation of Reactive Astrocytes Following Autoimmune Inflammation

Experimental Neurology. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16814281

The injury response in the brain involves complex interplay between neural and immune components. Following inflammatory insults to the adult CNS, formation of an astroglial scar often impedes functional repair. Glial progenitor cells expressing the nuclear transcription factor Olig2 possibly generate astrocytes in response to various types of injuries; however, the mechanisms underlying this differentiation are unclear. In a model of immune-mediated injury (MOG(35-55)-experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis), we show that the conversion from progenitor to reactive astrocyte is marked by the translocation of Olig2 into the cytoplasm. Evidence of this process is found for months after disease initiation in the absence of new inflammatory infiltrates. A proportion of cells with cytoplasmic Olig2 was found to express NG2 or Nkx2.2, but only Nkx2.2 was occasionally retained by GFAP+ cells. We further show that differentiation to astrocytes is induced in glial progenitors in vitro through exposure to the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFN-gamma, but not to TNF-alpha. Together, these data ascribe a pivotal role to Olig2+ glial precursor cells in the adult CNS, linking autoimmune inflammation and glial scar formation.

Immune Cells Contribute to Myelin Degeneration and Axonopathic Changes in Mice Overexpressing Proteolipid Protein in Oligodendrocytes

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Aug, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16885234

Overexpression of the major myelin protein of the CNS, proteolipid protein (PLP), leads to late-onset degeneration of myelin and pathological changes in axons. Based on the observation that in white matter tracts of these mutants both CD8+ T-lymphocytes and CD11b+ macrophage-like cells are numerically elevated, we tested the hypothesis that these cells are pathologically involved in the primarily genetically caused neuropathy. Using flow cytometry of mutant brains, CD8+ cells could be identified as activated effector cells, and confocal microscopy revealed a close association of the T-cells with MHC-I+ (major histocompatibility complex class I positive) oligodendrocytes. Crossbreeding the myelin mutants with mice deficient in the recombination activating gene-1 (RAG-1) lacking mature T- and B-lymphocytes led to a reduction of the number of CD11b+ cells and to a substantial alleviation of pathological changes. In accordance with these findings, magnetic resonance imaging revealed less ventricular enlargement in the double mutants, partially because of more preserved corpora callosa. To investigate the role of CD8+ versus CD4+ T-lymphocytes, we reconstituted the myelin-RAG-1 double mutants with bone marrow from either CD8-negative (CD4+) or CD4-negative (CD8+) mice. The severe ventricular enlargement was only found when the double mutants were reconstituted with bone marrow from CD8+ mice, suggesting that the CD8+ lymphocytes play a critical role in the immune-related component of myelin degeneration in the mutants. These findings provide strong evidence that a primary glial damage can cause secondary immune reactions of pathological significance as it has been suggested for some forms of multiple sclerosis and other leukodystrophies.

The Inflamed Peripheral Nervous System: Update on Immune Therapies

Current Opinion in Neurology. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16969151

Immune Circuitry in the Peripheral Nervous System

Current Opinion in Neurology. Oct, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16969152

The aim of this review is to describe the local immune circuitry in the peripheral nervous system and its dialogue with systemic immunity under pathological conditions. Specifically, interactions of the immune system with cellular and extracellular components within peripheral nerve and immune functions of tissue-resident endoneurial macrophages and Schwann cells will be discussed.

The Cell-specific Expression of Metalloproteinase-disintegrins (ADAMs) in Inflammatory Myopathies

Neurobiology of Disease. Mar, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17207628

Inflammatory cell invasion and cytokine activation are important steps in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated diseases of muscle. Metalloproteinase-disintegrins (ADAMs) are considered to play a critical role in leukocyte migration by promoting cellular adhesion, cleavage of molecules of the extracellular matrix and shedding of membrane bound cytokines. Here, we report the expression patterns of ADAM8, ADAM9, ADAM10, ADAM12, ADAM17 and ADAM19 in cultured human myoblasts and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in vitro, as well as in biopsies from patients suffering from polymyositis (PM), dermatomyositis (DM), inclusion body myositis (IBM) and non-inflammatory controls. We observed an in vitro downregulation of the RNAs of ADAM10, ADAM17 and ADAM19 in myoblasts after stimulation with various pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators, whereas in PBMCs an RNA upregulation of ADAM9, ADAM10, ADAM17 and ADAM19 was detectable under identical conditions. In human muscle biopsies, invading CD3+ T lymphocytes expressed ADAM17 and ADAM19, whereas macrophages co-localized to ADAM8, as detected by immunohistochemistry. Transfection of PBMCs with ADAM19 single interfering RNA and incubation with a metalloproteinase inhibitor suggest proteolytic activity of ADAM19 and involvement in the shedding of tumor necrosis factor-alpha. No differences in the cellular expression profiles between PM, DM and IBM were found, whereas the sections from non-inflammatory controls did not reveal any positive immunoreactivity for ADAMs, except for ADAM10, which is localized exclusively to muscle fibres. Our results suggest that certain ADAMs are expressed by specific cell populations during the genesis of immune-mediated diseases of human muscle.

HLA-G Expression Defines a Novel Regulatory T-cell Subset Present in Human Peripheral Blood and Sites of Inflammation

Blood. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17371944

Regulatory T cells can inhibit harmful immunopathologic responses directed against self and foreign antigens and play a major role in controlling autoimmunity. Here we have identified and characterized a subpopulation of CD4 and CD8 T cells in human peripheral blood expressing the immune tolerizing molecule HLA-G. HLA-G-expressing T cells are hypoproliferative, are CD25- and FOXP3-negative, and exhibit potent suppressive properties that are partially mediated by HLA-G. HLA-G-positive (HLA-G(pos)) T cells are found at low percentages among CD4 and CD8 single-positive thymocytes, suggesting a thymic origin. The presence of HLA-G(pos) T cells at sites of inflammation such as inflamed skeletal muscle in myositis or the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with acute neuroinflammatory disorders suggests an important function in modulating parenchymal inflammatory responses in vivo.

HLA-G in the Nervous System

Human Immunology. Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17400065

This review summarizes the current knowledge on the significance of human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) in the nervous system under physiologic and pathologic conditions. The central nervous system (CNS) has classically been viewed as an immune-privileged organ. Immune reactions triggered by, or directed against, CNS structures proceed along specific pathways. The expression and the functioning of the immune-tolerogenic major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule HLA-G have revealed novel insights into the endogenous immune-regulatory mechanisms exerted by resident cells within the nervous system, as well as how migrating immune cells contribute to this under pathologic conditions. HLA-G has been evidenced in certain neurologic disorders, including those of autoimmune, infectious, and neoplastic origin. This review compiles the current state of knowledge: how HLA-G is considered to be operative at different levels of the respective pathogenetic cascades of neurologic disorders. These findings are relevant both from a pathogenetic as well as from a therapeutic viewpoint.

Treatment of Active Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis with Treosulfan

Journal of Neurology. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17446994

To study the safety and efficacy of treosulfan, a cytotoxic alkylating agent, in patients with active secondary progressive multiple sclerosis.

The Genetic Influence of the Nonclassical MHC Molecule HLA-G on Multiple Sclerosis

Human Immunology. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17462509

Human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-G is a nonclassical major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecule located at MHC complex at chromosome 6 and chiefly attributed immunoregulatory and tolerogenic functions. HLA-G is upregulated at sites of inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS) and assumed to counterbalance immune responses. Different functionally relevant genetic variants of HLA-G have been described and shown to be statistically associated with human diseases such as fetal loss or sarcoidosis. We investigated the influence of three different variations in the HLA-G gene for disease susceptibility and course of MS (n = 698): (1) The -725 C/G exchange in the HLA-G promoter region, (2) HLA-G*0105N, a deletion that results in an irregular stopcodon in exon 3, and (3) a 14 bp insertion / deletion in the untranslated exon 8. None of these variations significantly influenced the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. No association was seen with the age of onset of disease, disease severity or disease course. Although HLA-G is assumed to play an important role in the immunoregulatory processes of MS, our results do not support a role of genetic factors influencing disease susceptibility of the disease course.

Treatment and Treatment Trials in Multiple Sclerosis

Current Opinion in Neurology. Jun, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17495622

This review focuses on advances in current and novel treatment approaches in multiple sclerosis.

Oral Disease-modifying Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis: the Story So Far

CNS Drugs. 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17521228

Multiple sclerosis (MS) represents the prototypic inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the CNS. It is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults and exhibits considerable clinical, radiological and pathological heterogeneity. Increased understanding of the immunopathological processes underlying this disease, advances in biotechnology and the development of powerful magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies, together with improvements in clinical trial design, have led to a variety of valuable therapeutic approaches to MS. Therapy for MS has changed dramatically over the past decade, yielding significant progress in the treatment of relapsing remitting and secondary progressive forms; however, most of the clinically relevant therapeutic approaches are not yet available as oral formulations. A substantial number of preliminary and pivotal reports have provided promising results for oral therapies, and various phase III clinical trials are currently being initiated or are already underway evaluating the efficacy of a variety of orally administered agents, including cladribine, teriflunomide, laquinimod, fingolimod and fumaric acid. It is hoped that these trials will advance the development of oral therapies for MS.

WHO Grade Associated Downregulation of MHC Class I Antigen-processing Machinery Components in Human Astrocytomas: Does It Reflect a Potential Immune Escape Mechanism?

Acta Neuropathologica. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17541610

Defects of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen-processing machinery (APM) components have been shown to contribute to immune escape of malignant cells. We investigated the expression of APM components in astrocytomas without detectable defects in HLA class I antigen expression and correlated it with grade of malignancy. Quantitative immunohistochemical analysis of astrocytomas revealed reduced expression of the cytosolic proteasome subunit low molecular weight protein 2 (LMP2), the endoplasmatic reticulum (ER) transporter associated with antigen processing-1 (TAP1), and the ER chaperone beta2-microglobulin (beta2m) in astrocytoma cells when compared to astrocytes from nonpathological brain. Among human WHO grade II-IV astrocytomas, downregulation of LMP2, TAP1 and beta2m correlated with grade of malignancy. Furthermore, astrocytoma cell lines (n = 12) expressed all APM components analyzed at levels comparable to dendritic cells (DC), which were used for comparative purposes. However, upregulation of beta2m after stimulation with inflammatory cytokines was significantly lower in astrocytoma cell lines than in control cells. Our results support the hypothesis that coordinated downregulation or impaired upregulation of certain HLA class I APM components may serve as a mechanism for astrocytoma cells to evade the host's immune response, even if HLA class I antigen surface expression is not altered.

Modulation of T-effector Function by Imatinib at the Level of Cytokine Secretion

Experimental Hematology. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17560008

Recently, evidence was provided, that the selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib mesylate (imatinib) has immunomodulatory or suppressive effects. However, the discussion about imatinib's influence on immune cells is still controversial. The aim of this study was to clarify the effect of imatinib on CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell effector functions.

Postpartum-activation of Multiple Sclerosis is Associated with Down-regulation of Tolerogenic HLA-G

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17561269

We used microarray analysis to obtain insights into the immuno-regulatory mechanisms controlling pregnancy-associated MS disease activity. We studied expression levels of 5000 immune-related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in patients with relapsing-remitting MS during pregnancy and postpartum and in comparison to controls. In the microarray analysis, HLA-G, a non-classical major histocompatibility molecule mainly attributed with immune-tolerogenic functions, was found differentially regulated between MS patients and controls. The finding was corroborated and extended by real-time PCR, flow-cytometry and ELISA in a larger patient sample. The results delineate an important role for the immune-tolerogenic molecule HLA-G in modulating disease activity and pregnancy-related changes in MS patients.

Immune-refractory Cancers and Their Little Helpers--an Extended Role for Immunetolerogenic MHC Molecules HLA-G and HLA-E?

Seminars in Cancer Biology. Dec, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17768067

There is strong evidence to support a role for non-classical MHC class I (class Ib) molecules, most notably HLA-E and HLA-G in tumour immune escape. In this article, we summarize the current knowledge on their expression, regulation and functional relevance in various malignancies, particularly brain tumours. Special emphasis is devoted to the phenomenon that these tolerogenic molecules are expressed by non-transformed cells that are found in close neighborhood to tumour cells representing either parenchymal cells or immune cells attracted to the tumour microenvironment. Here they may act as "natural" or "inducible" suppressors of anti-tumoural immune responses. We thus speculate about the role of HLA-G expressing T cells, a novel population of natural regulatory cells that was identified recently. It is suggested that various cell types within a tumour cooperate in order to inhibit anti-tumour immunity-and that immunetolerogenic HLA-G may play a major role in this context.

Multiple Sclerosis Therapy: an Update on Recently Finished Trials

Journal of Neurology. Nov, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 18004638

Six pharmacological agents are currently approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).However, all established substances are only partially effective in reducing disease progression or relapse rates. In addition, they have potentially serious side effects. Thus, significant efforts are being made to develop new agents or to optimize current therapies. The latter includes modifications of dose, route of administration or the time point of treatment initiation. In this review, we provide an update on the most important clinical phase II/III trials on approved and novel immunotherapeutic strategies in MS reported during the last two years. Pharmacotherapies include agents that target chemoattraction, cell migration, chemotherapies, and antigen-based therapies.

Pharmacological Treatment of Early Multiple Sclerosis

Drugs. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18081373

Currently, six medications are approved by the US FDA for the treatment of relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). In contrast, no pharmacological agent has proved to be effective in patients with secondary-progressive MS without relapses, or in patients with primary-progressive MS. One of the principal issues concerning an optimal pharmacotherapy for relapsing forms of MS is the optimal time of treatment initiation. There is now an almost universal consensus among MS experts that many patients will benefit from early therapy. However, several formidable challenges exist in identifying individuals who will benefit versus those who will do well without intervention. How do we define early MS and what clinical and paraclinical markers may be useful in defining the timing and nature of therapy? Do patients with a benign form of MS require therapy or are they exposed unnecessarily to adverse effects of our currently available medications? How do we identify disease progression and treatment failures? This review discusses these issues and outlines the evidence for application of 'early' treatment in patients with relapsing forms of MS.

CNS Inflammation and Neuronal Degeneration is Aggravated by Impaired CD200-CD200R-mediated Macrophage Silencing

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Feb, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18164423

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disabling CNS disorder, characterized by autoimmune inflammatory demyelination and neurodegeneration. CD200, broadly expressed on neurons and endothelial cells, mediates inhibitory signals through its receptor, CD200R, on cells of myeloid origin. Antibody-mediated blockade of CD200R leads to an aggravated clinical course of rodent experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in vivo, accompanied by profoundly augmented cellular infiltrates consisting of T cells and activated iNOS(+) macrophages in inflammatory spinal cord lesions. In vitro blockade of CD200R on macrophages leads to enhanced IFN-gamma-induced release of IL6 and neuronal cell death in co-cultures with hippocampal neurons expressing CD200. CD200 and its receptor could also be detected on neurons and macrophages in human MS plaques. Therefore the CD200-CD200R pathway seems of critical relevance for macrophage-mediated damage in autoimmune inflammation of the CNS.

The Two-pore Domain Potassium Channel TASK3 Functionally Impacts Glioma Cell Death

Journal of Neuro-oncology. May, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18217213

Two-pore domain K(+) channels, a recently discovered family of ion channels with a unique membrane topology, have been shown to be critically involved in cell death. We here address the functional role of TASK3 (TWIK-related acid-sensitive K(+) channel, KCNK9) in human glioblastoma in vitro and in vivo. Human glioma cell lines (n = 5) as well as glioma specimens (n = 5) constitutively express TASK3 mRNA and protein. The functional impact of the potassium channel on cell survival was investigated using a medium with high (25 mM) extracellular potassium over 7 days. Using flow cytometric assessment, we show that under these culture conditions 97 +/- 0.76% of all glioma cells survived. Application of the TASK channel opener isoflurane (1 vol%) resulted in a 30 +/- 4% reduction of cell survival in different glioma cell lines. Simultaneous application of isoflurane and the TASK channel blockers bupivacaine (20 microM) and spermine (500 microM) completely reversed this effect. Our results demonstrate the expression of TASK3 in glioma cells in vitro and in vivo and provide a direct link between the TASK3 channel function and glioma cell survival. This implies that TASK3 channels may possibly represent a novel molecular target for the treatment of this type of cancer.

TWIK-related Acid-sensitive K+ Channel 1 (TASK1) and TASK3 Critically Influence T Lymphocyte Effector Functions

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. May, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18375952

Two major K(+) channels are expressed in T cells, (i) the voltage-dependent K(V)1.3 channel and (ii) the Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel KCa 3.1 (IKCa channel). Both critically influence T cell effector functions in vitro and animal models in vivo. Here we identify and characterize TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium channel 1 (TASK1) and TASK3 as an important third K(+) conductance on T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes constitutively express TASK1 and -3 protein. Application of semi-selective TASK blockers resulted in a significant reduction of cytokine production and cell proliferation. Interference with TASK channels on CD3(+) T cells revealed a dose-dependent reduction ( approximately 40%) of an outward current in patch clamp recordings indicative of TASK channels, a finding confirmed by computational modeling. In vivo relevance of our findings was addressed in an experimental model of multiple sclerosis, adoptive transfer experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Pretreatment of myelin basic protein-specific encephalitogenic T lymphocytes with TASK modulators was associated with significant amelioration of the disease course in Lewis rats. These data introduce K(2)P channels as novel potassium conductance on T lymphocytes critically influencing T cell effector function and identify a possible molecular target for immunomodulation in T cell-mediated autoimmune disorders.

B7-H1 Restricts Neuroantigen-specific T Cell Responses and Confines Inflammatory CNS Damage: Implications for the Lesion Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis

European Journal of Immunology. Jun, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18421793

The co-inhibitory B7-homologue 1 (B7-H1/PD-L1) influences adaptive immune responses and has been proposed to contribute to the mechanisms maintaining peripheral tolerance and limiting inflammatory damage in parenchymal organs. To understand the B7-H1/PD1 pathway in CNS inflammation, we analyzed adaptive immune responses in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)(35-55)-induced EAE and assessed the expression of B7-H1 in human CNS tissue. B7-H1(-/-) mice exhibited an accelerated disease onset and significantly exacerbated EAE severity, although absence of B7-H1 had no influence on MOG antibody production. Peripheral MOG-specific IFN-gamma/IL-17 T cell responses occurred earlier and enhanced in B7-H1(-/-) mice, but ceased more rapidly. In the CNS, however, significantly higher numbers of activated neuroantigen-specific T cells persisted during all stages of EAE. Experiments showing a direct inhibitory role of APC-derived B7-H1 on the activation of MOG-specific effector cells support the assumption that parenchymal B7-H1 is pivotal for delineating T cell fate in the target organ. Compatible with this concept, our data investigating human brain tissue specimens show a strong up-regulation of B7-H1 in lesions of multiple sclerosis. Our findings demonstrate the critical importance of B7-H1 as an immune-inhibitory molecule capable of down-regulating T cell responses thus contributing to the confinement of immunopathological damage.

Detrimental Contribution of the Immuno-inhibitor B7-H1 to Rabies Virus Encephalitis

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Jun, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18490751

Rabies virus is the etiological agent of an acute encephalitis, which in absence of post exposure treatment is fatal in almost all cases. Virus lethality rests on its ability to evade the immune response. In this study, we analyzed the role of the immuno-inhibitory molecule B7-H1 in this virus strategy. We showed that in the brain and spinal cord of mice, rabies virus infection resulted in significant up-regulation of B7-H1 expression, which is specifically expressed in infected neurons. Correlatively, clinical rabies in B7-H1(-/-) mice is markedly less severe than in wild-type mice. B7-H1(-/-) mice display resistance to rabies. Virus invasion is reduced and the level of migratory CD8 T cells increases into the nervous system, while CD4/CD8 ratio remains unchanged in the periphery. In vivo, neuronal B7-H1 expression is critically depending on TLR3 signaling and IFN-beta, because TLR3(-/-) mice--in which IFN-beta production is reduced--showed only a limited increase of B7-H1 transcripts after infection. These data provide evidence that neurons can express the B7-H1 molecule after viral stress or exposure to a particular cytokine environment. They show that the B7-H1/PD-1 pathway can be exploited locally and in an organ specific manner--here the nervous system--by a neurotropic virus to promote successful host invasion.

The Role of Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Nature Clinical Practice. Neurology. Jul, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18578001

The dysregulation of inflammatory responses and of immune self-tolerance is considered to be a key element in the autoreactive immune response in multiple sclerosis (MS). Regulatory T (T(REG)) cells have emerged as crucial players in the pathogenetic scenario of CNS autoimmune inflammation. Targeted deletion of T(REG) cells causes spontaneous autoimmune disease in mice, whereas augmentation of T(REG)-cell function can prevent the development of or alleviate variants of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the animal model of MS. Recent findings indicate that MS itself is also accompanied by dysfunction or impaired maturation of T(REG) cells. The development and function of T(REG) cells is closely linked to dendritic cells (DCs), which have a central role in the activation and reactivation of encephalitogenic cells in the CNS. DCs and T(REG) cells have an intimate bidirectional relationship, and, in combination with other factors and cell types, certain types of DCs are capable of inducing T(REG) cells. Consequently, T(REG) cells and DCs have been recognized as potential therapeutic targets in MS. This Review compiles the current knowledge on the role and function of various subsets of T(REG) cells in MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. We also highlight the role of tolerogenic DCs and their bidirectional interaction with T(REG) cells during CNS autoimmunity.

The Metalloproteinase-disintegrin ADAM10 is Exclusively Expressed by Type I Muscle Fibers

Muscle & Nerve. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18642355

ADAM10 (Kuzbanian) is a member of a recently discovered family of membrane-anchored metalloproteinases with a complex and conserved domain structure. In part, these metalloproteinases have been implicated in muscle formation. Herein the expression pattern of ADAM10 in human skeletal muscle was studied. ADAM10 was found to be present in human myoblasts and to be exclusively expressed in type I fibers, suggesting that it may be critical in muscle fiber differentiation.

Human Myoblasts Modulate the Function of Antigen-presenting Cells

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18644633

Muscle biopsy specimens of myositis patients were analyzed for the presence of dendritic cells (DC) and macrophages (MPh) by immunohistochemistry. The interaction of DC and myoblasts (MB) was studied by coculture and effects on DC phenotype and function were assessed by flow cytometry and T-cell proliferation assays. Effects of MB-lysates on the phagocytic capacity of MPh were analyzed in bead-incorporation assays. Myositis specimens revealed a tendency towards more immature DC. MB modulated the maturation state of DC and DC recovered from MB-coculture had an inhibitory effect on T-cell proliferation. MB-lysates strongly stimulated MPh phagocytosis. Hypothetically, MB might modulate APC, counterbalancing immune-mediated damage.

The Role of CD8 Suppressors Versus Destructors in Autoimmune Central Nervous System Inflammation

Human Immunology. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18723060

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) of putative autoimmune origin. Recent evidence indicates that MS autoimmunity is linked to defects in regulatory T-cell function, which normally regulates immune responses to self-antigens and prevents autoimmune diseases. MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), have long been regarded as a CD4(+) T-cell-mediated autoimmune disease. Studies addressing the role of CD8(+) T cells, however, have only recently begun to emerge. Pathogenic function was attributed to CD8(+) T cells because of their abundant presence or oligoclonal repertoire within MS lesions. However, CD8(+) T cells appeared to have important regulatory functions, as demonstrated in EAE or human MS studies. We here review the contribution of CD8(+) T cells to inflammation and immune regulation in CNS autoimmunity. The knowledge of distinct CD8(+) T-cell populations exerting destructive versus beneficial functions is summarized. The long-term goal is to delineate the exact phenotypic and functional characteristics of regulatory CD8(+) T-cell populations (natural as well as inducible) in humans. This knowledge may help to further develop concepts of reconstituting or enhancing endogenous mechanisms of immune tolerance in future therapeutic concepts for MS.

A Beta-lactam Antibiotic Dampens Excitotoxic Inflammatory CNS Damage in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis

PloS One. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18773080

In multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), impairment of glial "Excitatory Amino Acid Transporters" (EAATs) together with an excess glutamate-release by invading immune cells causes excitotoxic damage of the central nervous system (CNS). In order to identify pathways to dampen excitotoxic inflammatory CNS damage, we assessed the effects of a beta-lactam antibiotic, ceftriaxone, reported to enhance expression of glial EAAT2, in "Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein" (MOG)-induced EAE. Ceftriaxone profoundly ameliorated the clinical course of murine MOG-induced EAE both under preventive and therapeutic regimens. However, ceftriaxone had impact neither on EAAT2 protein expression levels in several brain areas, nor on the radioactive glutamate uptake capacity in a mixed primary glial cell-culture and the glutamate-induced uptake currents in a mammalian cell line mediated by EAAT2. Moreover, the clinical effect of ceftriaxone was preserved in the presence of the EAAT2-specific transport inhibitor, dihydrokainate, while dihydrokainate alone caused an aggravated EAE course. This demonstrates the need for sufficient glial glutamate uptake upon an excitotoxic autoimmune inflammatory challenge of the CNS and a molecular target of ceftriaxone other than the glutamate transporter. Ceftriaxone treatment indirectly hampered T cell proliferation and proinflammatory INFgamma and IL17 secretion through modulation of myelin-antigen presentation by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) e.g. dendritic cells (DCs) and reduced T cell migration into the CNS in vivo. Taken together, we demonstrate, that a beta-lactam antibiotic attenuates disease course and severity in a model of autoimmune CNS inflammation. The mechanisms are reduction of T cell activation by modulation of cellular antigen-presentation and impairment of antigen-specific T cell migration into the CNS rather than or modulation of central glutamate homeostasis.

The Trials and Errors in MS Therapy

International MS Journal / MS Forum. Sep, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18808741

The development programme for novel therapies in multiple sclerosis (MS) has an impressive track record which is unique in the field of neurology, and has led to the approval of several drugs during the past decade. However, therapeutic prosperities face numerous trials that either failed to show efficacy or that had to be halted because of other reasons including adverse events. Moreover, certain treatment strategies are controversial, both for reasons of practicability and for their true clinical benefit. There are serious caveats that highly immunoselective approaches such as monoclonal antibodies can only be applied at the expense of an increased risk of acute or long-term adverse effects. This review focuses on the most important clinical trials on yet unlicensed compounds in relapsing-remitting and secondary-progressive MS which failed, were halted or are associated with significant adverse effects since 2002. Furthermore, we discuss the implications these experiences have for our current view of MS pathogenesis as well as future study design. Examples include agents that target leukocyte differentiation molecules, co-stimulatory molecules, adhesion molecules and chemotaxis, as well as novel immunomodulators and anti-infective therapies.

Altered Neuronal Expression of TASK1 and TASK3 Potassium Channels in Rodent and Human Autoimmune CNS Inflammation

Neuroscience Letters. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18824070

Multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) are characterized by T cell-mediated autoimmune inflammation of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to oligodendrocyte loss and demyelination accompanied by neuronal cell death. Neuronal TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium (TASK) channels allow the regulated efflux of potassium ions. These channels might either protect neurons in the inflamed CNS by modulating electrical excitability or even contribute to inflammatory neurodegeneration mediating intracellular potassium depletion. Using a combination of in-situ-hybridisation and immunofluorescence staining, we found increased neuronal expression of TASK1 and TASK3 channels in the optic nerve and decreased expression in the spinal cord and thalamus of rats undergoing MOG-induced EAE. Inflammatory plaques of human MS patients displayed profoundly lowered expression of both TASK isoforms. Thus, regulated expression of TASK channels might contribute to a molecular switch between death and survival of neurons in autoimmune CNS inflammation.

Effects of Natalizumab Treatment on Foxp3+ T Regulatory Cells

PloS One. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18836525

Natalizumab, a monoclonal humanized antibody targeting the alpha-4 chain of very late activation antigen 4 (VLA-4) exerts impressive therapeutic effects in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Our objective was to study impacts of Natalizumab therapy on Foxp3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Human Muscle Cells Express the Costimulatory Molecule B7-H3, Which Modulates Muscle-immune Interactions

Arthritis and Rheumatism. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18975328

Interactions between the family of B7 ligands and their receptors are increasingly recognized as crucial for stimulation and/or inhibition of immune responses. The present study was undertaken to examine the expression and functional relevance of B7 homolog 3 (B7-H3), a novel B7 homolog attributed significant immunoregulatory functions, in human muscle cells in vivo and in vitro.

Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies: Current and Future Therapeutic Options

Neurotherapeutics : the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. Oct, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19019306

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (notably polymyositis and dermatomyositis) are relatively uncommon diseases with a heterogeneous clinical presentation. Only a few randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have been performed, measures to assess outcome and response to treatment have to be validated. Initial treatment options of first choice are corticosteroids, although rarely tested in randomized, controlled trials. Unfortunately, not all patients respond to them and many develop undesirable side effects. Thus, second line agents or immunosuppressants given in combination with corticosteroids are used. For dermatomyositis/polymyositis, combination with azathioprine is most common. In case this combination is not sufficient or applicable, intravenous immunoglobulins are justified. Alternative or stronger immunosuppressants, such as cyclosporine A, cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, or mycophenolate are also used. There are no defined guidelines or best treatment protocols agreed on internationally; therefore, the medical approach must be individualized based on the severity of clinical presentation, disease duration, presence of extramuscular features, and prior therapy and contraindications to particular agents. Approximately 25% of patients are nonresponders and continue to experience clinical relapses. Those are candidates for alternative treatment options and experimental therapies. New immunoselective therapies directed toward cytokine modulation, immune cell migration, or modification of certain immune subsets (B- and T-cells) are a promising avenue of research and clinical application. Possible future therapeutic options are presented and discussed.

Frequency of Regulatory T Cells is Not Affected by Transient B Cell Depletion Using Anti-CD20 Antibodies in Rheumatoid Arthritis

The Open Rheumatology Journal. 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19156222

Transient B cell depletion with the monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab has shown favourable clinical responses in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recently a characteristic regeneration pattern of B cell subpopulations has been reported. However, little is known about the impact of B-cell depletion on peripheral T cells in particular regulatory T cells.

Immunomodulatory Treatment Strategies in Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Neurology. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19300955

Multiple sclerosis (MS) represents the prototypic inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system and the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults. The mainstays in the immunomodulatory therapy of MS are currently interferon beta and glatiramer acetate, both of which have proven to be clinically and paraclinically effective. Current clinical evidence indicates that treatment should be initiated as early as possible. In this review we summarize available data from clinical studies on clinical efficacy of immunomodulatory drugs for treating patients with multiple sclerosis.

Recent Clinical Trials and Future Therapies

Journal of Neurology. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19300967

Immunotherapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) has developed extremely successfully during the past decade and a number of new strategies were developed for the treatment of the disease. Examples include therapeutic strategies targeting leukocyte differentiation molecules, costimulatory molecules, anti-adhesion molecules, chemotaxis, novel immunomodulators, autologous stem cell transplantation, anti-infectious therapies and strategies for neuroprotection, neurorepair and remyelination. Here we describe examples of monoclonal antibodies, a novel immunosuppressant and interesting neuroprotective strategies.

The Neuroprotective Impact of the Leak Potassium Channel TASK1 on Stroke Development in Mice

Neurobiology of Disease. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 18930826

Oxygen depletion (O(2)) and a decrease in pH are initial pathophysiological events in stroke development, but secondary mechanisms of ischemic cell death are incompletely understood. By patch-clamp recordings of brain slice preparations we show that TASK1 and TASK3 channels are inhibited by pH-reduction (42+/-2%) and O(2) deprivation (36+/-5%) leading to membrane depolarization, increased input resistance and a switch in action potential generation under ischemic conditions. In vivo TASK blockade by anandamide significantly increased infarct volumes at 24 h in mice undergoing 30 min of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Moreover, blockade of TASK channels accelerated stroke development. Supporting these findings TASK1(-/-) mice developed significantly larger infarct volumes after tMCAO accompanied by worse outcome in functional neurological tests compared to wild type mice. In conclusion, our data provide evidence for an important role of functional TASK channels in limiting tissue damage during cerebral ischemia.

The Co-inhibitory Molecule PD-1 Modulates Disease Severity in a Model for an Inherited, Demyelinating Neuropathy

Neurobiology of Disease. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 18996482

We have previously shown that mice heterozygously deficient for P0 are characterized by a late onset myelin disorder implicating CD8+ T-lymphocytes and macrophages. We now investigated the impact of the co-inhibitory molecule "programmed death" (PD)-1 (CD279), a CD28-related receptor expressed on activated T- and B-lymphocytes on the pathogenic phenotype of CD8+ T-lymphocytes in the P0 myelin mutants. PD-1 deficiency in P0+/- mice leads to a stronger increase of CD8+ T-lymphocytes and a substantially aggravated histological phenotype in the PNS compared to P0+/- mice expressing PD-1. Correspondingly, functional down-stream features, such as electrophysiological parameters, walking coordination and mechano-sensation are more affected than in PD-1-expressing myelin mutants. Our study demonstrates that a monogenic nerve disorder can be substantially modified by immune-controlling mechanisms. Thus, understanding the implication of disease-modifiers in inherited demyelination could be of pivotal interest for limiting the detrimental impact of primarily genetically-mediated myelin disorders by fostering immuno-regulatory pathways.

Intracerebral Dendritic Cells Critically Modulate Encephalitogenic Versus Regulatory Immune Responses in the CNS

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19129392

Dendritic cells (DCs) appear in higher numbers within the CNS as a consequence of inflammation associated with autoimmune disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, but the contribution of these cells to the outcome of disease is not yet clear. Here, we show that stimulatory or tolerogenic functional states of intracerebral DCs regulate the systemic activation of neuroantigen-specific T cells, the recruitment of these cells into the CNS and the onset and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Intracerebral microinjection of stimulatory DCs exacerbated the onset and clinical course of EAE, accompanied with an early T-cell infiltration and a decreased proportion of regulatory FoxP3-expressing cells in the brain. In contrast, the intracerebral microinjection of DCs modified by tumor necrosis factor alpha induced their tolerogenic functional state and delayed or prevented EAE onset. This triggered the generation of interleukin 10 (IL-10)-producing neuroantigen-specific lymphocytes in the periphery and restricted IL-17 production in the CNS. Our findings suggest that DCs are a rate-limiting factor for neuroinflammation.

CD8+ T-cell Clones Dominate Brain Infiltrates in Rasmussen Encephalitis and Persist in the Periphery

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. May, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19179379

Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) is a rare neurological disorder of childhood characterized by uni-hemispheric inflammation, progressive neurological deficits and intractable focal epilepsy. Destruction of neurons and astrocytes by cytotoxic CD8 T cells has been proposed as a pathogenic mechanism underlying this enigmatic disorder. We tested this hypothesis by analysing the clonal composition and T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells using complementarity determining region 3 (CDR3) spectratyping from peripheral blood and corresponding CNS specimens. Severe perturbations of the TCR repertoire were found in brain infiltrates from all specimens (n = 5). Clonal expansions, as evidenced by peripheral blood analysis (n = 14), belonged to the CD8+ T-cell subset, while CD4+ cells showed normal distributions. Some of those expansions were analysed in the respective CNS specimens by histochemistry. The stainings showed Vbeta specific T cells containing the cytotoxic molecule granzyme B and lying in close appositions to NeuN+ neurons and GFAP+ astrocytes. Analysis of corresponding CNS/blood specimens revealed overlapping but also CNS-restricted expansions of certain TCR clonotypes suggesting expansions of T cells within the target organ itself. Longitudinal analysis of peripheral blood samples (n = 5) demonstrated dominance but also longitudinal persistence of specific CD8 T-cell clones over time. The Vbeta/Jbeta usage, length of the CDR3, and biochemical characteristics of the CDR3 amino acids suggested high similarities putatively related to common driving antigen(s) without shared clones. Taken together, our data strongly support the hypothesis of an antigen-driven MHC class-I restricted, CD8+ T cell-mediated attack against neurons and astrocytes in the CNS dominating the pathogenesis in RE.

PD-1 Regulates Neural Damage in Oligodendroglia-induced Inflammation

PloS One. 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19197390

We investigated the impact of immune regulatory mechanisms involved in the modulation of the recently presented, CD8+ lymphocyte mediated immune response in a mouse model of oligodendropathy-induced inflammation (PLPtg-mutants). The focus was on the role of the co-inhibitory molecule PD-1, a CD28-related receptor expressed on activated T- and B-lymphocytes associated with immune homeostasis and autoimmunity. PLPtg/PD-1-deficient double mutants and the corresponding bone marrow chimeras were generated and analysed using immunohistochemistry, light- and electron microscopy, with particular emphasis on immune-cell number and neural damage. In addition, the immune cells in both the CNS and the peripheral immune system were investigated by IFN-gamma elispot assays and spectratype analysis. We found that mice with combined pathology exhibited significantly increased numbers of CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes in the CNS. Lack of PD-1 substantially aggravated the pathological phenotype of the PLPtg mutants compared to genuine PLPtg mutants, whereas the PD-1 deletion alone did not cause alterations in the CNS. CNS T-lymphocytes in PLPtg/PD-1-/- double mutants exhibited massive clonal expansions. Furthermore, PD-1 deficiency was associated with a significantly higher propensity of CNS but not peripheral CD8+ T-cells to secrete proinflammatory cytokines. PD-1 could be identified as a crucial player of tissue homeostasis and immune-mediated damage in a model of oligodendropathy-induced inflammation. Alterations of this regulatory pathway lead to overt neuroinflammation of high pathogenetic impact. Our finding may have implications for understanding the mechanisms leading to the high clinical variability of polygenic or even monogenic disorders of the nervous system.

Intercellular Exchanges of Membrane Fragments (trogocytosis) Between Human Muscle Cells and Immune Cells: a Potential Mechanism for the Modulation of Muscular Immune Responses

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Apr, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19269695

Trogocytosis is a cell-contact dependent intercellular transfer of membrane fragments and associated molecules. We studied trogocytosis in the interaction of T cells with human skeletal muscle cells modeling muscle-immune cell interactions under pathophysiological conditions i.e. myositis. Human myoblasts donate membrane fragments to T cells. Acquisition of muscle-derived membrane molecules depended on T-cell activation, was independent of T-cell receptor engagement, sensitive to inhibition of actin polymerization and amplified by protein kinase C activation. Single-cell patch clamping was used to demonstrate the change in membrane capacitance upon incorporation of membrane fragments in T cells. Membrane uptake was fast and temporarily, but had clear functional consequences: T cells after intimate contact with myoblasts stimulated the proliferation of autologous T cells. Our observations raise the hypothesis that trogocytosis may modulate the outcome of T-T interactions within the micromilieu of skeletal muscle.

Multiple Sclerosis Therapeutics: Unexpected Outcomes Clouding Undisputed Successes

Neurology. Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19289741

In this essay, we draw attention to some recent downsides and surprises of multiple sclerosis (MS) therapeutics. These include experiences with recent head-to-head trials of interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate, dose escalation trials, frustrating efforts with progressive MS trials, failures of smart concepts and designer therapies, and harsh lessons from newly observed adverse reactions.

T Cell Suppression by Naturally Occurring HLA-G-expressing Regulatory CD4+ T Cells is IL-10-dependent and Reversible

Journal of Leukocyte Biology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19401389

CD4(+) T cells constitutively expressing the immune-tolerogenic HLA-G have been described recently as a new type of nT(reg) (HLA-G(pos) T(reg)) in humans. HLA-G(pos) T(reg) accumulate at sites of inflammation and are potent suppressors of T cell proliferation in vitro, suggesting their role in immune regulation. We here characterize the mechanism of how CD4(+) HLA-G(pos) T(reg) influence autologous HLA-G(neg) T(resp) function. Using a suppression system free of APC, we demonstrate a T-T cell interaction, resulting in suppression of HLA-G(neg) T(resp), which is facilitated by TCR engagement on HLA-G(pos) T(reg). Suppression is independent of cell-cell contact and is reversible, as the removal of HLA-G(pos) T(reg) from the established coculture restored the proliferative capability of responder cells. Further, HLA-G(pos) T(reg)-mediated suppression critically depends on the secretion of IL-10 but not TGF-beta.

Antigen-specific Blockade of Lethal CD8 T-cell Mediated Autoimmunity in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19414812

Increasing evidence implies CD8 T cells in tissue-specific autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis. mAbs specific for MHC class I molecules presenting a dominant autoantigenic peptide may allow selective immunotherapy in such settings. We demonstrate the prophylactic and therapeutic efficacy of such a mAb in a transgenic mouse model of lethal demyelinating disease in which a neo-self Ag expressed by oligodendrocytes is targeted by CD8 T cells with transgenic Ag receptors. Mechanistic studies performed in vitro and in vivo indicate that it is the low expression of MHC class I on oligodendrocytes, which makes this form of Ag-specific intervention possible.

The Level of B7 Homologue 1 Expression on Brain DC is Decisive for CD8 Treg Cell Recruitment into the CNS During EAE

European Journal of Immunology. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19424967

DC in the CNS have emerged as the major rate-limiting factor for immune invasion and subsequent neuroinflammation during EAE. The mechanism of how this is regulated by brain-localized DC remains unknown. Here, we describe the ability of brain-localized DC expressing B7-H1 molecules to recruit CD8(+) T cells to the site of inflammation. Using intracerebral microinjections of B7-homologue 1-deficient DC, we demonstrate a substantial brain infiltration of CD8(+) T cells displaying a regulatory phenotype (CD122(+)) and function, resulting in a decrease of EAE peak clinical values. The recruitment of regulatory-type CD8(+) T cells into the CNS and the role of brain DC expressing B7-homologue 1 molecules in this process open up the possibility of DC-targeted therapeutic manipulation of neuroinflammatory diseases.

Accelerated Course of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in PD-1-deficient Central Nervous System Myelin Mutants

The American Journal of Pathology. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19443704

It is assumed that the onset and course of autoimmune inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) disorders (eg, multiple sclerosis) are influenced by factors that afflict immune regulation as well as CNS vulnerability. We challenged this concept experimentally by investigating how genetic alterations that affect myelin (primary oligodendrocyte damage in PLPtg mice) and/or T-cell regulation (deficiency of PD-1) influence both the onset and course of an experimental autoimmune CNS inflammatory disease [MOG(35-55)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)]. We observed that double pathology was associated with a significantly earlier onset of disease, a slight increase in the neurological score, an increase in the number of infiltrating cells, and enhanced axonal degeneration compared with wild-type mice and the respective, single mutant controls. Double-mutant PLPtg/PD-1(-/-) mice showed an increased production of interferon-gamma by CNS immune cells at the peak of disease. Neither PD-1 deficiency nor oligodendropathy led to detectable spread of antigenic MHC class I- or class II-restricted epitopes during EAE. However, absence of PD-1 clearly increased the propensity of T lymphocytes to expand, and the number of clonal expansions reliably reflected the severity of the EAE disease course. Our data show that the interplay between immune dysregulation and myelinopathy results in a stable exacerbation of actively induced autoimmune CNS inflammation, suggesting that the combination of several pathological issues contributes significantly to disease susceptibility or relapses in human disease.

CD8+ T Cells and Neuronal Damage: Direct and Collateral Mechanisms of Cytotoxicity and Impaired Electrical Excitability

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Nov, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19567369

Cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells are increasingly recognized as key players in various inflammatory and degenerative central nervous system (CNS) disorders. CD8(+) T cells are believed to actively contribute to neural damage in these CNS conditions. Conceptually, one can separate two possible ways that CD8(+) T cells harm neuronal function or integrity: CD8(+) T cells either directly target neurons and their neurites in an antigen- or contact-dependent fashion, or exert their action via "collateral" mechanisms of neuronal damage that might follow destruction of the myelin sheath or glial cells in both the CNS gray and white matter. After introducing clinical examples, in which the putative relevance CD8(+) T cells has been demonstrated, we summarize knowledge on the sequence of initiation and execution of CD8(+) T-cell responses in the CNS. This includes the initial antigen cross-presentation and priming of naive CD8(+) T cells, followed by the invasion, migration, and target-cell recognition of CD8(+) effector T cells in the CNS parenchyma. Moreover, we discuss mechanisms of impaired electrical signaling and cell death of neurons as direct and collateral targets of CD8(+) T cells in the CNS.

TASK1 Modulates Inflammation and Neurodegeneration in Autoimmune Inflammation of the Central Nervous System

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Sep, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19570851

We provide evidence that TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium channel 1 (TASK1), a member of the family of two-pore domain potassium channels relevant for setting the resting membrane potential and balancing neuronal excitability that is expressed on T cells and neurons, is a key modulator of T cell immunity and neurodegeneration in autoimmune central nervous system inflammation. After induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an experimental model mimicking multiple sclerosis, TASK1(-/-) mice showed a significantly reduced clinical severity and markedly reduced axonal degeneration compared with wild-type controls. T cells from TASK1(-/-) mice displayed impaired T cell proliferation and cytokine production, while the immune repertoire is otherwise normal. In addition to these effects on systemic T cell responses, TASK1 exhibits an independent neuroprotective effect which was demonstrated using both a model of acutely prepared brain slices cocultured with activated T cells as well as in vitro cultivation experiments with isolated optic nerves. Anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid and inhibitor of TASK channels, reduced outward currents and inhibited effector functions of T cells (IFN-gamma production and proliferation); an effect completely abrogated in TASK1(-/-) mice. Accordingly, preventive blockade of TASK1 significantly ameliorated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis after immunization. Therapeutic application of anandamide significantly reduced disease severity and was capable of lowering progressive loss of brain parenchymal volume as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging. These data support the identification and characterization of TASK1 as potential molecular target for the therapy of inflammatory and degenerative central nervous system disorders.

Comment on "Functional Consequences of Kv1.3 Ion Channel Rearrangement into the Immunological Synapse"

Immunology Letters. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19595706

Modulation of the biophysical properties of potassium channel currents upon immunological synapse formation between T cells and antigen-presenting cells has been reported. Some comments on this work are discussed in the light of previously described TASK channels on T lymphocytes.

Collateral Bystander Damage by Myelin-directed CD8+ T Cells Causes Axonal Loss

The American Journal of Pathology. Sep, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19700745

Permanent disability of patients suffering from central nervous system (CNS) inflammation such as multiple sclerosis, the most common chronic inflammatory disorder of the CNS, originates mainly from demyelination and axonal damage. Although many studies in the past focused on the role of CD4(+) T cells, several recent findings postulate the relevance of autoaggressive, cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells in the effector phase of multiple sclerosis. Yet, it remains unresolved whether axonal injury is the result of a CD8(+) T cell-targeted hit against the axon itself or the consequence of an attack against the myelin structure. To address this issue of CD8-mediated tissue damage in CNS inflammation, we performed continuous confocal imaging of autoaggressive, cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells in living organotypic cerebellar brain slices. We observed that loading brain slices with the cognate peptide antigen caused CD8-mediated damage of myelinated axons. To exclude the possibility that the cognate peptide loaded onto the brain slices was presented by axons directly, we restricted the cognate antigen expression exclusively to the cytosol of oligodendrocytes. Aside from vast myelin damage, extensive axonal bystander injury occurred. Using this model system of inflammatory CNS injury, we visualize that axonal loss can be the consequence from "collateral bystander damage" by autoaggressive, cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells, targeting their cognate antigen processed and presented by oligodendrocytes.

Specific Central Nervous System Recruitment of HLA-G(+) Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Annals of Neurology. Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19705413

We have recently described a novel population of natural regulatory T cells (T(reg)) that are characterized by the expression of HLA-G and may be found at sites of tissue inflammation (HLA-G(pos) T(reg)). Here we studied the role of these cells in multiple sclerosis (MS), a prototypic autoimmune inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system (CNS).

Current Status on B-cell Depletion Therapy in Autoimmune Diseases Other Than Rheumatoid Arthritis

Autoimmunity Reviews. Dec, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19716441

Since the approval of the chimeric anti-CD20 antibody rituximab for the treatment of adults with severe-to-moderate rheumatoid arthritis after an inadequate response to TNF blockade, B-cell depletion therapy has been used for the treatment of a broad range of refractory autoimmune disorders. Based on current experiences and a literature search, a systematic review and evaluation of the current status of B-cell depletion therapy in autoimmune diseases other than rheumatoid arthritis, including rheumatic, nephrologic, dermatologic and neurologic autoimmune entities, was performed by an international group of experts based at several academic centres. Although important questions remain about the value and place of B-cell depletion in autoimmune diseases other than RA, preliminary data indicate the value of this therapeutic approach in otherwise refractory patients. However, given the lack of robust data from large randomised controlled trials, anti-CD20 therapy should be considered on an individual basis in otherwise refractory patients and its use based on a risk/benefit net calculation.

The Future of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy

Pharmacological Research : the Official Journal of the Italian Pharmacological Society. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19717009

Multiple sclerosis (MS) represents the prototypic inflammatory autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system and the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, exhibiting considerable clinical, radiological and pathological heterogeneity. A better understanding of the immunopathological processes underlying this disease have recently led to the design of numerous novel therapeutical approaches. Perhaps most importantly, therapy has changed dramatically over the past decade in that all relapsing forms of MS, including early forms of MS are now being treated relatively aggressively. However, there are still unmet needs in the management of this disease, especially since all of the currently available disease-modifying drugs are only partially effective. Most of the clinically relevant therapeutic agents are not yet available as oral formulations. A substantial number of pivotal and preliminary reports provide encouraging new evidence on advances being made in the development of oral therapies for MS. A different strategy is the development of very potent monoclonal antibodies, given intravenously or subcutaneously, many of which are being examined for clinical efficacy. These agents are potentially more effective, but may carry more serious side effects. Finally, drugs with a known good safety profile are being developed further. These advances are critically reviewed and put into perspective.

Iatrogenic Immunosuppression with Biologics in MS: Expecting the Unexpected?

Neurology. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19776376

Cytotoxic CD8+ T Cell-neuron Interactions: Perforin-dependent Electrical Silencing Precedes but is Not Causally Linked to Neuronal Cell Death

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Dec, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 20007464

Cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells are considered important effector cells contributing to neuronal damage in inflammatory and degenerative CNS disorders. Using time-lapse video microscopy and two-photon imaging in combination with whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, we here show that major histocompatibility class I (MHC I)-restricted neuronal antigen presentation and T cell receptor specificity determine CD8(+) T-cell locomotion and neuronal damage in culture and hippocampal brain slices. Two separate functional consequences result from a direct cell-cell contact between antigen-presenting neurons and antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells. (1) An immediate impairment of electrical signaling in single neurons and neuronal networks occurs as a result of massive shunting of the membrane capacitance after insertion of channel-forming perforin (and probably activation of other transmembrane conductances), which is paralleled by an increase of intracellular Ca(2+) levels (within <10 min). (2) Antigen-dependent neuronal apoptosis may occur independently of perforin and members of the granzyme B cluster (within approximately 1 h), suggesting that extracellular effects can substitute for intracellular delivery of granzymes by perforin. Thus, electrical silencing is an immediate consequence of MHC I-restricted interaction of CD8(+) T cells with neurons. This mechanism is clearly perforin-dependent and precedes, but is not causally linked, to neuronal cell death.

Immunotherapy of Multiple Sclerosis

Acta Neuropsychiatrica. Jun, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 25384864

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is regarded as a prototypic inflammatory autoimmune central nervous system disorder causing neurological disability in young adults. Recommended basic immunomodulatory therapies of MS are currently interferon beta and glatiramer acetate. Both have proven to be clinically and paraclinically effective and clinical evidence suggests that treatment should be initiated as early as possible. However, despite the fact that therapeutic options for MS have significantly been widened over the past decade there is still tremendous activity in the search for new treatment options for MS. One important development in the field is reflected by the substantial number of promising results for oral therapies. Various phase III clinical trials are currently being initiated or are already underway evaluating the efficacy of a variety of orally administered agents, including cladribine, teriflunomide, laquinimod, fingolimod and fumaric acid. It is hoped that these oral therapies for MS further broaden our armament for MS therapy.

Expression of Antigen Processing and Presenting Molecules by Schwann Cells in Inflammatory Neuropathies

Glia. Jan, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19544394

Schwann cells are the myelinating glia cells of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and can become targets of an autoimmune response in inflammatory neuropathies like the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS). Professional antigen presenting cells (APCs) are known to promote autoimmune responses in target tissues by presenting self-antigens. Other cell types could participate in local autoimmune responses by acting as nonprofessional APCs. Using a combined approach of immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and flow cytometry analysis we demonstrate that human Schwann cells express the antigen processing and presenting machinery (APM) in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, cultured human Schwann cells increase the expression of proteasome subunit delta (Y), antigen peptide transporter TAP2, and HLA Class I and HLA Class II complexes in an inflammatory environment. In correlation with this observation, Schwann cells in sural nerve biopsies from GBS patients show increased expression of antigen processing and presenting molecules. Furthermore, cultured human Schwann cells can proteolytically digest fluorescently-labeled nonmammalian antigen ovalbumin. Taken together, our data suggest antigen processing and presentation as a possible function of Schwann cells that may contribute to (auto)immune responses within peripheral nerves.

Collateral Neuronal Apoptosis in CNS Gray Matter During an Oligodendrocyte-directed CD8(+) T Cell Attack

Glia. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19780193

Demyelination and death of oligodendrocytes accompanied by transection of neurites and neuronal apoptosis are pathological hallmarks of cortical and subcortical gray matter lesions in demyelinating viral and autoimmune inflammatory CNS disorders. In these disorders, leukocortical lesions, containing the perikarya of most efferent neurons, display pronounced infiltration by CD8(+) T cells of putative specificity for oligodendrocyte- and myelin-related antigens. Hence, neuronal apoptosis in gray matter lesions may be a collateral effect of an oligodendrocyte-directed attack by CD8(+) T cells. To challenge this hypothesis, we transferred activated antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells (OT-I T cells) into acute coronal brain slices from mice selectively expressing ovalbumin as a cytosolic neo-self-antigen in oligodendrocytes (ODC-OVA mice). We studied mechanisms and kinetics of oligodendroglial and neuronal apoptosis in the neocortex and hippocampus, using multicolor staining for different cell types and activated caspase-3. Within the gray matter, a single OT-I T cell caused simultaneous caspase-3 activation in about 30 ODCs and 10 neurons within 6 h in a strictly antigen-dependent manner. Experiments with OT-I T cells genetically deficient for perforin or the granzyme B-cluster and with blocking anti-FasL antibodies as well as proinflammatory cytokines revealed, that collateral apoptosis of neurons was likely due to a spillover of perforin and granzyme(s) from the OT-I T cell itself or the immunological synapse that it selectively formed with antigen-presenting oligodendrocytes. Collateral neuronal apoptosis could contribute to substantial neuronal loss in gray matter lesions and cause persistent neurological impairment in both acute and chronic gray matter lesions in various inflammatory CNS disorders.

Mouse Schwann Cells Activate MHC Class I and II Restricted T-cell Responses, but Require External Peptide Processing for MHC Class II Presentation

Neurobiology of Disease. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19914379

Schwann cells are the myelinating glia cells of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). In inflammatory neuropathies like the Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) Schwann cells become target of an autoimmune response, but may also modulate local inflammation. Here, we tested the functional relevance of Schwann cell derived MHC expression in an in vitro coculture system. Mouse Schwann cells activated proliferation of ovalbumin specific CD8+ T cells when ovalbumin protein or MHC class I restricted ovalbumin peptide (Ova(257-264) SIINFEKL) was added and after transfection with an ovalbumin coding vector. Schwann cells activated proliferation of ovalbumin specific CD4+ T cells in the presence of MHC class II restricted ovalbumin peptide (Ova(323-339) ISQAVHAAHAEINEAGR). CD4+ T-cell proliferation was not activated by ovalbumin protein or transfection with an ovalbumin coding vector. This indicates that Schwann cells express functionally active MHC class I and II molecules. In this study, however, Schwann cells lacked the ability to process exogenous antigen or cross-present endogenous antigen into the MHC class II presentation pathway. Thus, antigen presentation may be a pathological function of Schwann cells exacerbating nerve damage in inflammatory neuropathies.

Stromal Interaction Molecules 1 and 2 Are Key Regulators of Autoreactive T Cell Activation in Murine Autoimmune Central Nervous System Inflammation

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20028655

Calcium (Ca(2+)) signaling in T lymphocytes is essential for a variety of functions, including the regulation of differentiation, gene transcription, and effector functions. A major Ca(2+) entry pathway in nonexcitable cells, including T cells, is store-operated Ca(2+) entry (SOCE), wherein depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores upon receptor stimulation causes subsequent influx of extracellular Ca(2+) across the plasma membrane. Stromal interaction molecule (STIM) 1 is the Ca(2+) sensor in the endoplasmic reticulum, which controls this process, whereas the other STIM isoform, STIM2, coregulates SOCE. Although the contribution of STIM molecules and SOCE to T lymphocyte function is well studied in vitro, their significance for immune processes in vivo has remained largely elusive. In this study, we studied T cell function in mice lacking STIM1 or STIM2 in a model of myelin-oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG(35-55))-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We found that STIM1 deficiency significantly impaired the generation of neuroantigen-specific T cell responses in vivo with reduced Th1/Th17 responses, resulting in complete protection from EAE. Mice lacking STIM2 developed EAE, but the disease course was ameliorated. This was associated with a reduced clinical peak of disease. Deficiency of STIM2 was associated with an overall reduced proliferative capacity of lymphocytes and a reduction of IFN-gamma/IL-17 production by neuroantigen-specific T cells. Neither STIM1 nor STIM2 deficiency altered the phenotype or function of APCs. These findings reveal a crucial role of STIM-dependent pathways for T cell function and activation under autoimmune inflammatory conditions, establishing them as attractive new molecular therapeutic targets for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

Deficiency of the Negative Immune Regulator B7-H1 Enhances Inflammation and Neuropathic Pain After Chronic Constriction Injury of Mouse Sciatic Nerve

Experimental Neurology. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20051242

Peripheral nerve injury induces a profound local inflammatory response that involves T cells and macrophages and augments the generation of neuropathic pain. The mechanisms underlying immune cell activation or inhibition in the peripheral nervous system, however, are unknown. The co-inhibitory molecule B7-H1 (PD-L1, CD274) attenuates immune cell proliferation and cytokine production and protects from inflammation-induced tissue damage. We analyzed the temporal gene expression profile of B7-H1 and different cytokines after chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, a lesion paradigm inducing neuropathic pain, by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry in B7-H1(-/-) mice and wild-type (WT) controls. B7-H1 mRNA was markedly induced in WT nerves after CCI, and macrophages could be identified as major B7-H1 source. The proinflammatory mediators tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) displayed a strong, but transient expression in degenerating nerves on day 1 after CCI in WT mice, while a biphasic expression peak on day 1 and day 28 was found in B7-H1(-/-) mice. Overall, TNFalpha and MCP-1 levels in B7-H1-deficient nerves dramatically exceeded those in WT controls. In contrast, induction of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin(IL)-10 was restricted to WT nerves. The observation that B7-H1 deficiency enhances inflammation upon CCI was further corroborated by immunohistochemistry showing increased numbers of T cells and macrophages in injured nerves from B7-H1(-/-) mice. Interestingly, mechanical hyperalgesia was more pronounced in the absence of B7-H1. Our study identifies B7-H1 as an important suppressor of the inflammatory response and neuropathic pain occurring after peripheral nerve injury.

Lack of Evidence for a Pathogenic Role of T-lymphocytes in an Animal Model for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease 1A

Neurobiology of Disease. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20064611

We have previously shown that in two distinct models for inherited neuropathies of the Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type, T-lymphocytes are critically involved in demyelination. In the present study, we tested whether T-lymphocytes have a similar pathogenetic impact in another CMT model, i.e., in mice overexpressing the peripheral myelin protein (PMP)-22, representing the most prevalent form CMT1A. By cross breeding the myelin mutant mice with mutants lacking mature T- and B-lymphocytes (RAG-1-deficient mice), the pathological alterations were not changed in comparison to PMP22 mutants with a normal immune system. Reciprocal enhancement of lymphocyte activation, by inactivation of the lymphocytic co-inhibitor programmed death-1, also did not alter pathological changes, as opposed to models with approved lymphocytic involvement. These findings strongly suggest that lymphocytes are not pathogenetically relevant in this model for CMT1A. We suggest that - in contrast to myelin phagocytosing macrophages - T-lymphocytes are not a promising target for treatment of CMT1A.

Active Immunization Induces Toxicity of Diphtheria Toxin in Diphtheria Resistant Mice--implications for Neuroinflammatory Models

Journal of Immunological Methods. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20138048

Cell-type specific expression of the human diphtheria toxin receptor in generally toxin resistant mice represents an innovative approach for the selective depletion of pre-defined cell populations. We demonstrate that in wildtype mice diphtheria toxin--in concentrations otherwise well tolerated--is highly toxic and lethal together with active immunization irrespective of the immunogenic peptide applied. We found increased lung cellularity as only pathological abnormality. Animal models of inflammatory diseases requiring active immunization including experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis may thus not be applicable in diphtheria receptor transgenic mice pointing to a major limitation of this otherwise technically interesting approach.

Early Detrimental T-cell Effects in Experimental Cerebral Ischemia Are Neither Related to Adaptive Immunity nor Thrombus Formation

Blood. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20215643

T cells contribute to the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke by yet unknown mechanisms. Mice with transgenic T-cell receptors (TCRs) and mutations in costimulatory molecules were used to define the minimal immunologic requirements for T cell-mediated ischemic brain damage. Stroke was induced in recombination activating gene 1-deficient (RAG1(-/-)) mice devoid of T and B cells, RAG1(-/-) mice reconstituted with B cells or T cells, TCR-transgenic mice bearing 1 single CD8(+) (2C/RAG2, OTI/RAG1 mice) or CD4(+) (OTII/RAG1, 2D2/RAG1 mice) TCR, mice lacking accessory molecules of TCR stimulation (CD28(-/-), PD1(-/-), B7-H1(-/-) mice), or mice deficient in nonclassical T cells (natural killer T [NKT] and gammadelta T cells) by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Stroke outcome was assessed at day 1. RAG1(-/-) mice and RAG1(-/-) mice reconstituted with B cells developed significantly smaller brain infarctions compared with controls, but thrombus formation after FeCl(3)-induced vessel injury was unimpaired. In contrast, TCR-transgenic mice and mice lacking costimulatory TCR signals were fully susceptible to tMCAO similar to mice lacking NKT and gammadelta T cells. These findings were corroborated by adoptive transfer experiments. Our data demonstrate that T cells critically contribute to cerebral ischemia, but their detrimental effect neither depends on antigen recognition nor TCR costimulation or thrombus formation.

The Role of Dendritic Cells in CNS Autoimmunity

Journal of Molecular Medicine (Berlin, Germany). Jun, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20217033

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic immune-mediated, central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disease. Clinical and histopathological features suggest an inflammatory etiology involving resident CNS innate cells as well as invading adaptive immune cells. Encephalitogenic myelin-reactive T cells have been implicated in the initiation of an inflammatory cascade, eventually resulting in demyelination and axonal damage (the histological hallmarks of MS). Dendritic cells (DC) have recently emerged as key modulators of this immunopathological cascade, as supported by studies in humans and experimental disease models. In one such model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), CNS microvessel-associated DC have been shown to be essential for local antigen recognition by myelin-reactive T cells. Moreover, the functional state and compartmental distribution of DC derived from CNS and associated lymphatics seem to be limiting factors in both the induction and effector phases of EAE. Moreover, DC modulate and balance the recruitment of encephalitogenic and regulatory T cells into CNS tissue. This capacity is critically influenced by DC surface expression of co-stimulatory or co-inhibitory molecules. The fact that DC accumulate in the CNS before T cells and can direct T-cell responses suggests that they are key determinants of CNS autoimmune outcomes. Here we provide a comprehensive review of recent advances in our understanding of CNS-derived DC and their relevance to neuroinflammation.

Smad7 in T Cells Drives T Helper 1 Responses in Multiple Sclerosis and Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. Apr, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20354004

Autoreactive CD4+ T lymphocytes play a vital role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Since the discovery of T helper 17 cells, there is an ongoing debate whether T helper 1, T helper 17 or both subtypes of T lymphocytes are important for the initiation of autoimmune neuroinflammation. We examined peripheral blood CD4+ cells from patients with active and stable relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, and used mice with conditional deletion or over-expression of the transforming growth factor-beta inhibitor Smad7, to delineate the role of Smad7 in T cell differentiation and autoimmune neuroinflammation. We found that Smad7 is up-regulated in peripheral CD4+ cells from patients with multiple sclerosis during relapse but not remission, and that expression of Smad7 strongly correlates with T-bet, a transcription factor defining T helper 1 responses. Concordantly, mice with transgenic over-expression of Smad7 in T cells developed an enhanced disease course during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, accompanied by elevated infiltration of inflammatory cells and T helper 1 responses in the central nervous system. On the contrary, mice with a T cell-specific deletion of Smad7 had reduced disease and central nervous system inflammation. Lack of Smad7 in T cells blunted T cell proliferation and T helper 1 responses in the periphery but left T helper 17 responses unaltered. Furthermore, frequencies of regulatory T cells were increased in the central nervous system of mice with a T cell-specific deletion and reduced in mice with a T cell-specific over-expression of Smad7. Downstream effects of transforming growth factor-beta on in vitro differentiation of naïve T cells to T helper 1, T helper 17 and regulatory T cell phenotypes were enhanced in T cells lacking Smad7. Finally, Smad7 was induced during T helper 1 differentiation and inhibited during T helper 17 differentiation. Taken together, the level of Smad7 in T cells determines T helper 1 polarization and regulates inflammatory cellular responses. Since a Smad7 deletion in T cells leads to immunosuppression, Smad7 may be a potential new therapeutic target in multiple sclerosis.

An Imbalance of Two Functionally and Phenotypically Different Subsets of Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Characterizes the Dysfunctional Immune Regulation in Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20357264

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are instrumental in peripheral T cell tolerance and innate immunity. How pDCs control peripheral immunetolerance and local parenchymal immune response and contribute to the altered immunoregulation in autoimmune disorders in humans is poorly understood. Based on their surface markers, cytokine production, and ability to prime naive allogenic T cells, we found that purified BDCA-2(+)BDCA-4(+) pDCs consist of at least two separate populations, which differed in their response to oligodeoxynucleotides and IFNs (IFN-beta), and differently induced IL-17- or IL-10-producing T cells. To evaluate the potential immunoregulatory role of these two types of pDCs in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other human autoimmune disorders (myasthenia gravis), we studied the phenotype and regulatory function of pDCs isolated from clinically stable, untreated patients with MS (n = 16). Patients with MS showed a reversed ratio of pDC1/pDC2 in peripheral blood (4.4:1 in healthy controls, 0.69:1 in MS), a phenomenon not observed in the other autoimmune disorders. As a consequence, MS pDCs had an overall propensity to prime IL-17-secreting cells over IL-10-secreting CD4+ T cells. Immunomodulatory therapy with IFN-beta induced an increase of the pDC1 population in vivo (n = 5). Our data offer a plausible explanation for the disturbed immune tolerance in MS patients and provide evidence that immunomodulatory therapy acts at the level of reconstituting homeostasis of pDC, thus reconstituting the disturbed balance.

Reduced Cortisol Levels in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Differential Distribution of 11beta-hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases in Multiple Sclerosis: Implications for Lesion Pathogenesis

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20385225

Relapses during multiple sclerosis (MS) are treated by administration of exogenous corticosteroids. However, little is known about the bioavailability of endogenous steroids in the central nervous system (CNS) of MS patients. We thus determined cortisol and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) levels in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from 34 MS patients, 28 patients with non-inflammatory neurological diseases (NIND) and 16 patients with other inflammatory neurological diseases (OIND). This revealed that MS patients - in sharp contrast to patients with OIND - show normal cortisol concentrations in serum and lowered cortisol levels in the CSF during acute relapses. This local cortisol deficit may relate to poor local activation of cortisone via 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11bHSD1) or to inactivation via 11bHSD2. Accordingly, 11bHSD2 was found to be expressed within active plaques, whereas 11bHSD1 was predominantly detected in surrounding "foamy" macrophages. Our study thus provides new insights into the impaired endogenous CNS cortisol regulation in MS patients and its possible relation to MS lesion pathogenesis. Moreover, an observed upregulation of 11bHSD1 in myelin-loaded macrophages in vitro suggests an intriguing hypothesis for the self-limiting nature of MS lesion development. Finally, our findings provide an attractive explanation for the effectivity of high- vs. low-dose exogenous corticosteroids in the therapy of acute relapses.

B7-H1-deficiency Enhances the Potential of Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells by Activating CD1d-restricted Type II NKT Cells

PloS One. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20520738

Dendritic cells (DC) can act tolerogenic at a semi-mature stage by induction of protective CD4(+) T cell and NKT cell responses.

From the Background to the Spotlight: TASK Channels in Pathological Conditions

Brain Pathology (Zurich, Switzerland). Nov, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20529081

TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium channels (TASK1-3) belong to the family of two-pore domain (K(2P) ) potassium channels. Emerging knowledge about an involvement of TASK channels in cancer development, inflammation, ischemia and epilepsy puts the spotlight on a leading role of TASK channels under these conditions. TASK3 has been especially linked to cancer development. The pro-oncogenic potential of TASK3 could be shown in cell lines and in various tumor entities. Pathophysiological hallmarks in solid tumors (e.g. low pH and oxygen deprivation) regulate TASK3 channels. These conditions can also be found in (autoimmune) inflammation. Inhibition of TASK1,2,3 leads to a reduction of T cell effector function. It could be demonstrated that TASK1(-/-) mice are protected from experimental autoimmune inflammation while the same animals display increased infarct volumes after cerebral ischemia. Furthermore, TASK channels have both an anti-epileptic as well as a pro-epileptic potential. The relative contribution of these opposing influences depends on their cell type-specific expression and the conditions of the cellular environment. This indicates that TASK channels are per se neither protective nor detrimental but their functional impact depends on the "pathophysiological" scenario. Based on these findings TASK channels have evolved from "mere background" channels to key modulators in pathophysiological conditions.

FOXP3+ T Regulatory Cells in Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies

Journal of Neuroimmunology. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20537411

FOXP3+ T regulatory cells (Tregs) are considered key players in the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Here we studied the presence and potential role of FOXP3+ Tregs in myositis. CD3 and FOXP3 expression in dermatomyositis, polymyositis and inclusion body myositis was assessed by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR. FOXP3+ Tregs were found in close proximity to effector cells and their numbers correlated with the degree of inflammation. Despite divergent pathogenetic concepts, we observed no differences in the frequency of FOXP3 immunoreactive cells or FOXP3 mRNA expression between different myositis entities. Functional assays using human myoblasts as targets of CD8+ cells demonstrate that Tregs are capable to inhibit the lytic activity of cytotoxic cells. Our data suggest that FOXP3 Tregs serve to counterbalance muscle destruction by cytotoxic T cells in myositis.

Upregulation of K2P5.1 Potassium Channels in Multiple Sclerosis

Annals of Neurology. Jul, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20582984

Activation of T cells critically depends on potassium channels. We here characterize the impact of K(2P)5.1 (KCNK5; TASK2), a member of the 2-pore domain family of potassium channels, on T-cell function and demonstrate its putative relevance in a T-cell-mediated autoimmune disorder, multiple sclerosis (MS).

Therapeutic Approaches to Multiple Sclerosis: an Update on Failed, Interrupted, or Inconclusive Trials of Immunomodulatory Treatment Strategies

BioDrugs : Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20623991

Multiple sclerosis (MS) continues to be a therapeutic challenge, and much effort is being made to develop new and more effective immune therapies. Particularly in the past decade, neuroimmunologic research has delivered new and highly effective therapeutic options, as seen in the growing number of immunotherapeutic agents and biologics in development. However, numerous promising clinical trials have failed to show efficacy or have had to be halted prematurely because of unexpected adverse events. Some others have shown results that are of unknown significance with regard to a reliable assessment of true efficacy versus safety. For example, studies of the highly innovative monoclonal antibodies that selectively target immunologic effector molecules have not only revealed the impressive efficacy of such treatments, they have also raised serious concerns about the safety profiles of these antibodies. These results add a new dimension to the estimation of risk-benefit ratios regarding acute or long-term adverse effects. Therapeutic approaches that have previously failed in MS have indicated that there are discrepancies between theoretical expectations and practical outcomes of different compounds. Learning from these defeats helps to optimize future study designs and to reduce the risks to patients. This review summarizes trials on MS treatments since 2001 that failed or were interrupted, attempts to analyze the underlying reasons for failure, and discusses the implications for our current view of MS pathogenesis, clinical practice, and design of future studies. In order to maintain clarity, this review focuses on anti-inflammatory therapies and does not include studies on already approved and effective disease-modifying therapies, albeit used in distinct administration routes or under different paradigms. Neuroprotective and alternative treatment strategies are presented elsewhere.

Natalizumab Treatment in a Patient with Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

Archives of Neurology. Jul, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20625098

To study clinical and paraclinical effects of natalizumab in a patient with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP).

Two Pore Domain Potassium Channels in Cerebral Ischemia: a Focus on K2P9.1 (TASK3, KCNK9)

Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20646278

Recently, members of the two-pore domain potassium channel family (K2P channels) could be shown to be involved in mechanisms contributing to neuronal damage after cerebral ischemia. K2P3.1-/- animals showed larger infarct volumes and a worse functional outcome following experimentally induced ischemic stroke. Here, we question the role of the closely related K2P channel K2P9.1.

Postpartum Disease Activity and Breastfeeding in Multiple Sclerosis Revisited

Neurology. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20679632

Identification of Targets and New Developments in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis--focus on Cladribine

Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20689698

Orally available disease-modifying drugs for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) represent an unmet need for this chronic and debilitating disease. Among 5 currently investigated drugs at phase 3 clinical stage, promising efficacy data for fingolimod and oral cladribine have recently been published. However, benefits need to be weighed against the risks to define the role of these compounds within current treatment regimens. In this review, data on the efficacy of a promising compound, oral cladribine, are discussed and balanced with known and anticipated risks in a postmarketing era, and finally gives an outlook on the potential place of this drug in treatment algorithms for MS in the future.

Therapeutic Approaches to Multiple Sclerosis: an Update on Failed, Interrupted, or Inconclusive Trials of Neuroprotective and Alternative Treatment Strategies

BioDrugs : Clinical Immunotherapeutics, Biopharmaceuticals and Gene Therapy. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20795753

Currently approved multiple sclerosis (MS) therapeutics have a mainly anti-inflammatory mode of action. However, a number of promising clinical trials have been initiated that either focus on neuroprotection or follow completely different treatment strategies. So far, all of these clinical trials have failed to show efficacy or had to be halted prematurely because of unexpected adverse events. Some others show results that are of unknown significance with regard to a reliable assessment of true efficacy versus safety. For example, trials addressing the highly promising sodium channel blockers are under close observation because of potential adverse effects after drug withdrawal. Previously failed therapeutic approaches in MS have indicated that there are discrepancies between the theoretical expectations and practical outcomes of different compounds. Learning from these failures helps to optimize future study designs and to reduce risks to patients. This review summarizes trials on MS treatments since 2001 that failed or were interrupted, attempts to analyze the underlying reasons for failure, and discusses the implications for our current view of MS pathogenesis, clinical practice, and the design of future studies. In order to maintain clarity, this review focuses on neuroprotective and various other treatment strategies. Clinical trials addressing anti-inflammatory research strategies are presented elsewhere.

Glatiramer Acetate Attenuates Pro-inflammatory T Cell Responses but Does Not Directly Protect Neurons from Inflammatory Cell Death

The American Journal of Pathology. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21037084

Glatiramer acetate (GA) is a synthetic, random, basic copolymer capable of modulating adaptive T cell responses. In animal models of various inflammatory and degenerative central nervous system disorders, GA-induced T cells cross the blood-brain barrier, secrete high levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines and neurotrophins, and thus both reduce neuronal damage and promote neurogenesis. Recently, it has been suggested that GA itself may permeate the (impaired) blood-brain-barrier and directly protect neurons under conditions of inflammation-mediated neurodegeneration. To test this hypothesis, we examined the direct effects of GA on neuronal functionality and T cell-mediated neuronal apoptosis in culture, acute brain slices, and focal experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. GA caused a depolarization of the resting membrane potential and led to an immediate impairment of action potential generation in neurons. Moreover, GA-incubated neurons underwent dose-dependent apoptosis. Apoptosis of ovalbumin peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complex class I-expressing neurons induced by ovalbumin-specific effector T cells could be reduced by pre-incubation of T cells, but not neurons with GA. Similar results could be found using acute brain slices. In focal experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, lesion size and neuronal apoptosis could be limited by pretreating rats with GA, whereas intracerebral GA application into the inflammatory lesion had no effect on neuronal survival. Our data suggest that GA attenuates adaptive pro-inflammatory T cell responses, but does not exert direct neuroprotective effects.

Temporal Pattern of ICAM-I Mediated Regulatory T Cell Recruitment to Sites of Inflammation in Adoptive Transfer Model of Multiple Sclerosis

PloS One. 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21085578

Migration of immune cells to the target organ plays a key role in autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). However, the exact underlying mechanisms of this active process during autoimmune lesion pathogenesis remain elusive. To test if pro-inflammatory and regulatory T cells migrate via a similar molecular mechanism, we analyzed the expression of different adhesion molecules, as well as the composition of infiltrating T cells in an in vivo model of MS, adoptive transfer experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rats. We found that the upregulation of ICAM-I and VCAM-I parallels the development of clinical disease onset, but persists on elevated levels also in the phase of clinical remission. However, the composition of infiltrating T cells found in the developing versus resolving lesion phase changed over time, containing increased numbers of regulatory T cells (FoxP3) only in the phase of clinical remission. In order to test the relevance of the expression of cell adhesion molecules, animals were treated with purified antibodies to ICAM-I and VCAM-I either in the phase of active disease or in early remission. Treatment with a blocking ICAM-I antibody in the phase of disease progression led to a milder disease course. However, administration during early clinical remission aggravates clinical symptoms. Treatment with anti-VCAM-I at different timepoints had no significant effect on the disease course. In summary, our results indicate that adhesion molecules are not only important for capture and migration of pro-inflammatory T cells into the central nervous system, but also permit access of anti-inflammatory cells, such as regulatory T cells. Therefore it is likely to assume that intervention at the blood brain barrier is time dependent and could result in different therapeutic outcomes depending on the phase of CNS lesion development.

Regulatory T Cells Exhibit Enhanced Migratory Characteristics, a Feature Impaired in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

European Journal of Immunology. Dec, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 21108477

Migration of immune cells characterizes inflammation and plays a key role in autoimmune diseases such as MS. CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) have the potential to dampen immune responses but show functional impairment in patients with MS. We here show that murine Treg exhibit higher constitutive cell motility in horizontal migration on laminin, surpass non-Treg in transwell assays through microporous membranes as well as across primary brain endothelium and are present in the naïve CNS to a significantly higher extent compared to spleen, lymph nodes and blood. Likewise, human Treg from healthy donors significantly exceed non-Treg in migratory rates across primary human brain endothelium. Finally, we investigated whether the propensity to migrate is impaired as a feature of autoimmunity and therefore tested patients with MS. Treg from patients with stable relapsing-remitting MS show significantly impaired migratory capacity under non-inflammatory conditions compared to healthy donors. We hypothesize that the enhanced propensity to migrate is a feature of Treg that allows for an equilibrium in parenchymal immune surveillance, e.g. of the CNS. Impaired Treg migration across the intact blood-brain barrier, as observed for Treg from patients with MS, indicates a broader functional deficiency hypothetically contributing to early CNS lesion development or phases of MS remissions.

CD34+ Progenitor Cells Mobilized by Natalizumab Are Not a Relevant Reservoir for JC Virus

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21078695

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is associated with natalizumab treatment in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). It has been hypothesized that natalizumab mobilizes JC virus (JCV)-infected haematopoietic progenitor cells mediating viraemia and subsequently this disease.

Janus Head: the Dual Role of HLA-G in CNS Immunity

Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences : CMLS. Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21086150

The central nervous system (CNS) is considered an immune-privileged organ that maintains an adaptable immune surveillance system. Dysregulated immune function within the CNS contributes to the development of brain tumor growth, and robust immune activation results in excessive inflammation. Human lymphocyte antigen-G (HLA-G) proteins with tolerogenic immunoreactivity have been implicated in various pathophysiological processes including immune surveillance, governing homeostasis and immune regulation. In this review, we describe the wealth of evidence for the involvement of HLA-G in the CNS under physiological and pathological conditions. Further, we review regulatory functions that may be applicable as beneficial strategies in the therapeutic manipulation of immune-mediated CNS immune responses. Additionally, we try to understand how this molecule cooperates with other CNS-resident cells to maintain normal immune homeostasis, while still facilitating the development of the appropriate immune responses.

Natalizumab Restores Evoked Potential Abnormalities in Patients with Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Feb, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21135021

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of natalizumab on functional parameters assessed by evoked potentials (visual [VEP], somatosensory [SEP] and motor evoked potentials [MEP]) in a cohort study in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients.

Active Immunization with Proteolipid Protein (190-209) Induces Ascending Paralysing Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in C3H/HeJ Mice

Journal of Immunological Methods. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21199659

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that shares clinical and pathophysiological feature with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is commonly used as an animal model for the human disease. Upon active immunization, different myelin proteins and other neuronal antigens are known to induce EAE in susceptible mouse strains. However, there are rodent strains reputed to be resistant to actively-induced EAE and the correct combination of animal strains and their respective autoantigen is absolutely critical as some antigens are encephalitogenic in one animal strain, but not in another. Here we describe actively-induced EAE in C3H/HeJ mice with different myelin peptides. Whereas no clinical signs could be found by immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55, significant weight loss as well as rapidly occurring severe ascending paralysis was found in animals immunized with proteolipid protein 190-209 (PLP(190-209)). Histologically, this form of EAE was characterized by predominant involvement of the spinal cord. As PLP is one of the major lipid antigens putatively involved in the pathogenesis of MS, this model may be useful for further studies of the disease.

Blockade of the Kinin Receptor B1 Protects from Autoimmune CNS Disease by Reducing Leukocyte Trafficking

Journal of Autoimmunity. Mar, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21216565

Disruption of the blood brain barrier (BBB) and transendothelial trafficking of immune cells into the central nervous system (CNS) are pathophysiological hallmarks of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and its animal model, Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE). Kinins are proinflammatory peptides which are released during tissue injury including EAE. They increase vascular permeability and enhance inflammation by acting on distinct bradykinin receptors, B1R and B2R. We studied the expression of B1R and B2R and the effect of their inhibition on the disease course, BBB integrity and T cell migration following myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG(35-55))-induced EAE. B1R, but not B2R expression was markedly enhanced in inflammatory CNS lesions in mice and humans. Brain endothelial cells could be identified as major source of B1R protein. The severity of EAE was significantly alleviated in B1R(-/-) mice compared with wild-type (WT) controls (P<0.05). Treatment of WT mice with the B1R antagonist R715 before and after disease onset was equally effective (P<0.05) while B1R activation by R838 promoted EAE (P<0.05). B1R inhibition was accompanied by a remarkable reduction of BBB disruption and tissue inflammation. In vitro analyses revealed that B1R suppression reverses the upregulation of ICAM-I and VCAM-I at the inflamed BBB thereby limiting T cell transmigration. In contrast, blocking B2R had no significant impact on EAE. We conclude that B1R inhibition can reduce BBB damage and cell invasion during autoimmune CNS disease and may offer a novel anti-inflammatory strategy for the treatment of MS.

Expression of K2P5.1 Potassium Channels on CD4+ T Lymphocytes Correlates with Disease Activity in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients

Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21314928

CD4+ T cells express K(2P)5.1 (TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium channel 2 (TASK2); KCNK5), a member of the two-pore domain potassium channel family, which has been shown to influence T cell effector functions. Recently, it was shown that K(2P)5.1 is upregulated upon (autoimmune) T cell stimulation. The aim of this study was to correlate expression levels of K(2P)5.1 on T cells from patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to disease activity in these patients.

Risks and Benefits of Multiple Sclerosis Therapies: Need for Continual Assessment?

Current Opinion in Neurology. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21483261

The aim is to describe and discuss the ongoing debate on how to balance an increase in clinical efficacy against a heightened risk of developing serious side-effects, as has surfaced recently with some novel therapies for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Ion Channels in Autoimmune Neurodegeneration

FEBS Letters. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21501610

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system characterized by widespread inflammation, focal demyelination and a variable degree of axonal and neuronal loss. Ionic conductances regulate T cell activation as well as neuronal function and thus have been found to play a crucial role in MS pathogenesis. Since present therapeutical approaches are only partially effective so far, ion channel modulation as a future strategy was brought into focus. Here, we review the status quo concerning recent findings from ion channel research in MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Functional Energetics of CD4+-cellular Immunity in Monoclonal Antibody-associated Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy in Autoimmune Disorders

PloS One. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21533133

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is an opportunistic central nervous system- (CNS-) infection that typically occurs in a subset of immunocompromised individuals. An increasing incidence of PML has recently been reported in patients receiving monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy for the treatment of autoimmune diseases, particularly those treated with natalizumab, efalizumab and rituximab. Intracellular CD4(+)-ATP-concentration (iATP) functionally reflects cellular immunocompetence and inversely correlates with risk of infections during immunosuppressive therapy. We investigated whether iATP may assist in individualized risk stratification for opportunistic infections during mAb-treatment.

Safety and Clinical Outcomes of Rituximab Therapy in Patients with Different Autoimmune Diseases: Experience from a National Registry (GRAID)

Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21569519

Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard-of-care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard-of-care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting.

Transforming Multiple Sclerosis Trials into Practical Reality

Lancet Neurology. Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21571592

Volume Regulation of Murine T Lymphocytes Relies on Voltage-dependent and Two-pore Domain Potassium Channels

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Aug, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21575593

A variety of ion channels are supposed to orchestrate the homoeostatic volume regulation in T lymphocytes. However, the relative contribution of different potassium channels to the osmotic volume regulation and in particular to the regulatory volume decrease (RVD) in T cells is far from clear. This study explores a putative role of the newly identified K(2P) channels (TASK1, TASK2, TASK3 and TRESK) along with the voltage-gated potassium channel K(V)1.3 and the calcium-activated potassium channel K(Ca)3.1 in the RVD of murine T lymphocytes, using genetic and pharmacological approaches. K(2P) channel knockouts exerted profound effects on the osmotic properties of murine T lymphocytes, as revealed by reduced water and RVD-related solute permeabilities. Moreover, both genetic and pharmacological data proved a key role of K(V)1.3 and TASK2 channels in the RVD of murine T cells exposed to hypotonic saline. Our experiments demonstrate a leading role of potassium channels in the osmoregulation of T lymphocytes under different conditions. In summary, the present study sheds new light on the complex and partially redundant network of potassium channels involved in the basic physiological process of the cellular volume homeostasis and extends the repertoire of potassium channels by the family of K(2P) channels.

Symptomatic Therapy in Multiple Sclerosis: a Review for a Multimodal Approach in Clinical Practice

Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21694816

As more investigations into factors affecting the quality of life of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) are undertaken, it is becoming increasingly apparent that certain comorbidities and associated symptoms commonly found in these patients differ in incidence, pathophysiology and other factors compared with the general population. Many of these MS-related symptoms are frequently ignored in assessments of disease status and are often not considered to be associated with the disease. Research into how such comorbidities and symptoms can be diagnosed and treated within the MS population is lacking. This information gap adds further complexity to disease management and represents an unmet need in MS, particularly as early recognition and treatment of these conditions can improve patient outcomes. In this manuscript, we sought to review the literature on the comorbidities and symptoms of MS and to summarize the evidence for treatments that have been or may be used to alleviate them.

Immune Mechanisms of New Therapeutic Strategies in Multiple Sclerosis-A Focus on Alemtuzumab

Clinical Immunology (Orlando, Fla.). Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21550857

Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting CD52, a broadly expressed cell surface molecule on immune cells. Application results in a rapid and long-lasting removal of lymphocyte populations from the circulation. Alemtuzumab-treatment of MS patients with relapsing-remitting forms of the disease significantly reduced the risk of relapse and accumulation of disability compared to interferon β-1a treatment in a phase II trial. Interestingly, further analysis together with parallel experimental studies suggested that alemtuzumab not only reduces disease activity due to its immune cell-depleting effect, but also confers neuroprotective effects, presumably by inducing production of neurotrophic factors in autoreactive T cells. However, alemtuzumab-treated MS patients experienced increased rates of novel autoimmunity and a slight increase in infections, demonstrating that alemtuzumab-mediated skewing of the immune cell compartment has a broad influence on immune functions. This review discusses the current concepts about the underlying mechanisms causing these altered immune responses in alemtuzumab-treated MS patients.

Immunological and Clinical Consequences of Treating a Patient with Natalizumab

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Mar, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21908480

Long-term therapy with natalizumab increases the risk of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML).

Pathology of Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome in Multiple Sclerosis with Natalizumab-associated Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

Acta Neuropathologica. Feb, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22057786

Natalizumab is an approved medication for highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) may occur as a severe side effect of this drug. Here, we describe pathological and radiological characteristics of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), which occurs in natalizumab-associated PML after the cessation of therapy, and we differentiate it from ongoing PML. Brain biopsy tissue and MRI scans from five MS patients with natalizumab-associated PML were analyzed and their histology compared with non-MS PML. Histology showed an extensive CD8-dominated T cell infiltrate and numerous macrophages within lesions, and in nondemyelinated white and grey matter, in four out of five cases. Few or no virally infected cells were found. This was indicative of IRIS as known from HIV patients with PML. Outstandingly high numbers of plasma cells were present as compared to non-MS PML and typical MS lesions. MRI was compatible with IRIS, revealing enlarging lesions with a band-like or speckled contrast enhancement either at the lesion edge or within lesions. Only the fifth patient showed typical PML pathology, with low inflammation and high numbers of virally infected cells. This patient showed a similar interval between drug withdrawal and biopsy (3.5 months) to the rest of the cohort (range 2.5-4 months). MRI could not differentiate between PML-associated IRIS and ongoing PML. We describe in detail the histopathology of IRIS in natalizumab-associated PML. PML-IRIS, ongoing PML infection, and MS exacerbation may be impossible to discern clinically alone. MRI may provide some clues for distinguishing different pathologies that can be differentiated histologically. In our individual cases, biopsy helped to clarify diagnoses in natalizumab-associated PML.

Rapidly Progressive B-cell Dominated Inflammatory Neuropathy and Littoral Cell Angioma of the Spleen Associated with Plasmablastic B-cell Lymphoma

Leukemia & Lymphoma. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22098375

IL-17 Silencing Does Not Protect Nonobese Diabetic Mice from Autoimmune Diabetes

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22116823

The long-held view that many autoimmune disorders are primarily driven by a Th1 response has been challenged by the discovery of Th17 cells. Since the identification of this distinct T cell subset, Th17 cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Type 1 diabetes has also long been considered a Th1-dependent disease. In light of the emerging role for Th17 cells in autoimmunity, several recent studies investigated the potential of this subset to initiate autoimmune diabetes. However, direct evidence supporting the involvement of Th17 cells in actual pathogenesis, particularly during spontaneous onset, is lacking. In this study, we sought to directly address the role of IL-17, the cytokine by which Th17 cells are primarily characterized, in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes. We used lentiviral transgenesis to generate NOD mice in which IL-17 is silenced by RNA interference. The loss of IL-17 had no effect on the frequency of spontaneous or cyclophosphamide-induced diabetes. In contrast, IL-17 silencing in transgenic NOD mice was sufficient to reduce the severity of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, consistent with reports that IL-17 deficiency is protective in this experimental model of multiple sclerosis. We concluded that IL-17 is dispensable, at least in large part, in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes.

Cytosolic RIG-I-like Helicases Act As Negative Regulators of Sterile Inflammation in the CNS

Nature Neuroscience. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22138643

The action of cytosolic RIG-I-like helicases (RLHs) in the CNS during autoimmunity is largely unknown. Using a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, we found that mice lacking the RLH adaptor IPS-1 developed exacerbated disease that was accompanied by markedly higher inflammation, increased axonal damage and elevated demyelination with increased encephalitogenic immune responses. Furthermore, activation of RLH ligands such as 5'-triphosphate RNA oligonucleotides decreased CNS inflammation and improved clinical signs of disease. RLH stimulation repressed the maintenance and expansion of committed T(H)1 and T(H)17 cells, whereas T-cell differentiation was not altered. Notably, T(H)1 and T(H)17 suppression required type I interferon receptor engagement on dendritic cells, but not on macrophages or microglia. These results identify RLHs as negative regulators of T(H)1 and T(H)17 responses in the CNS, demonstrate a protective role of the RLH pathway for brain inflammation, and establish oligonucleotide ligands of RLHs as potential therapeutics for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

CD4(+) T Cells Predominate in Cerebrospinal Fluid and Leptomeningeal and Parenchymal Infiltrates in Cerebral Amyloid β-related Angiitis

Archives of Neurology. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22351850

In amyloid (Aβ)-related angiitis (ABRA)of the central nervous system (CNS), cerebral amyloid angiopathy occurs in association with primary vasculitis of small- and medium-sized leptomeningeal and cortical arteries. It has been suggested that ABRA is triggered by vascular deposition of A followed by an Aβ-directed (auto)immune response.

CD4(+) CD25(+) FoxP3(+) Regulatory T Cells Suppress Cytotoxicity of CD8(+) Effector T Cells: Implications for Their Capacity to Limit Inflammatory Central Nervous System Damage at the Parenchymal Level

Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22373353

CD4(+) CD25(+) forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)(+) regulatory T cells (T reg cells) are known to suppress adaptive immune responses, key control tolerance and autoimmunity.

Licensing of Myeloid Cells Promotes Central Nervous System Autoimmunity and is Controlled by Peroxisome Proliferator-activated Receptor γ

Brain : a Journal of Neurology. May, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22447120

During central nervous system autoimmunity, interactions between infiltrating immune cells and brain-resident cells are critical for disease progression and ultimately organ damage. Here, we demonstrate that local cross-talk between invading autoreactive T cells and auto-antigen-presenting myeloid cells within the central nervous system results in myeloid cell activation, which is crucial for disease progression during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, the animal model of multiple sclerosis. This T cell-mediated licensing of central nervous system myeloid cells triggered astrocytic CCL2-release and promoted recruitment of inflammatory CCR2(+)-monocytes, which are the main effectors of disease progression. By employing a cell-specific knockout model, we identify the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) in myeloid cells as key regulator of their disease-determining interactions with autoreactive T cells and brain-resident cells, respectively. LysM-PPARγ(KO) mice exhibited disease exacerbation during the effector phase of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis characterized by enhanced activation of central nervous system myeloid cells accompanied by pronounced local CCL2 production and inflammatory monocyte invasion, which finally resulted in increased demyelination and neuronal damage. Pharmacological PPARγ activation decreased antigen-specific T cell-mediated licensing of central nervous system myeloid cells, reduced myeloid cell-mediated neurotoxicity and hence dampened central nervous system autoimmunity. Importantly, human monocytes derived from patients with multiple sclerosis clearly responded to PPARγ-mediated control of proinflammatory activation and production of neurotoxic mediators. Furthermore, PPARγ in human monocytes restricted their capacity to activate human astrocytes leading to dampened astrocytic CCL2 production. Together, interference with the disease-promoting cross-talk between central nervous system myeloid cells, autoreactive T cells and brain-resident cells represents a novel therapeutic approach that limits disease progression and lesion development during ongoing central nervous system autoimmunity.

Neuron-directed Autoimmunity in the Central Nervous System: Entities, Mechanisms, Diagnostic Clues, and Therapeutic Options

Current Opinion in Neurology. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22487567

The human central nervous system (CNS) can mistakenly be the target of adaptive cellular and humoral immune responses causing both functional and structural impairment. We here provide an overview of neuron-directed autoimmunity as a novel class of inflammatory CNS disorders, their differential diagnoses, clinical hallmarks, imaging features, characteristic laboratory, electrophysiological, cerebrospinal fluid and neuropathological findings, cellular and molecular disease mechanisms, as well as therapeutic options.

Neuroinflammation: the World is Not Enough

Current Opinion in Neurology. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22487569

Fulfilling the Dream: Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells to Treat Multiple Sclerosis

European Journal of Immunology. Mar, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22488360

Autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS) are the result of an imbalanced immune tolerance network. Dendritic cells (DCs) are key players in both initiating immunity (immunogenic DCs) and regulating immune responses (tolerogenic DCs = tolDCs) and are potential targets for the treatment of MS. While the immunogenic potential of DCs in fighting infection and cancer has been well established, approaches that exploit their tolerogenic features to promote transplantation tolerance and autoimmunity have emerged only more recently. TolDCs usually maintain antigen-specific T-cell tolerance either directly by inducing anergy, apoptosis, or phenotype skewing or indirectly by induction of regulatory T (Treg) cells. The use of ex vivo-generated tolDCs is an experimental approach to achieve tolerance towards myelin-antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells. In the article by Raϊch-Regué and colleagues (Eur. J. Immunol. 2011. 42:772-783) in this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, advances in human tolDC preparation and promise for autologous therapy are described. These findings raise hopes of achieving the "ideal" of a highly-specific, causally-oriented immune intervention for central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity in MS. However, recent experience with antigen-specific immune interventions in MS and some general caveats associated with cell-based-therapies highlight the challenges for clinical translation of the "immunologist's dream" of treating autoimmunity as discussed in this Commentary.

Immune Mechanisms of Stroke

Current Opinion in Neurology. Jun, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22547104

Only recently has it been realized that immune mechanisms contribute to the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke, which for many years was regarded mainly as a vascular disease. These immunologic processes are present during all stages of stroke and involve both the innate and adaptive immune systems. This review highlights the latest findings related to the 'immunology of stroke'.

Immune Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis--future Strategies

Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22612746

Baseline disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) for multiple sclerosis (MS) include three different preparations of interferon-beta (IFN-β) and glatiramer acetate (GA). These substances reduce relapse rates, side-effects are tolerated by most patients and - after more than 15 years of experience - the long-term safety profile for these drugs can be appraised as very good. In 2006, the therapeutic tool kit was augmented by the first monoclonal antibody, natalizumab, approved as monotherapy for treatment-refractory highly active MS. The restriction to these patient groups results from the rare, but fatal risk of JC virus-induced progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). The first oral agent (fingolimod) was approved in 2010 for the United States and in 2011 for Europe. As a further option for therapy escalation the chemotherapeutic agent mitoxantrone is approved for non-responding relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) or secondary progressive MS (SPMS). The use of mitoxantrone is limited by severe cardiotoxicity and the risk of treatment related acute leukemia. However, despite the fact that therapeutic options for MS have significantly been widened over the past decade new treatment options and more convenient modes of application are needed to enhance efficacy and improve adherence to therapy. This article will review recent developments in MS treatments focusing on oral agents (cladribine, fingolimod, BG00012, teriflunomide and laquinimod) and novel monoclonal antibodies (alemtumzumab, daclizumab, ocrelizumab, ofatumumab).

Anti-JC-virus Antibody Prevalence in a German MS Cohort

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Jul, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22740609

Cytotoxic CD8+ T Cells and CD138+ Plasma Cells Prevail in Cerebrospinal Fluid in Non-paraneoplastic Cerebellar Ataxia with Contactin-associated Protein-2 Antibodies

Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22759321

The purpose of this paper is to report a patient with otherwise unexplained cerebellar ataxia with serum antibodies against contactin-associated protein-2 (CASPR-2) and provide a detailed description of the composition of cellular infiltrates in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) compared to the peripheral blood (PB). CASPR-2 antibodies strongly labeling axons of cerebellar granule neurons have recently been identified in sera from nine patients with otherwise unexplained progressive cerebellar ataxia with mild to severe cerebellar atrophy.

Dendritic Cells Ameliorate Autoimmunity in the CNS by Controlling the Homeostasis of PD-1 Receptor(+) Regulatory T Cells

Immunity. Aug, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22902234

Mature dendritic cells (DCs) are established as unrivaled antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in the initiation of immune responses, whereas steady-state DCs induce peripheral T cell tolerance. Using various genetic approaches, we depleted CD11c(+) DCs in mice and induced autoimmune CNS inflammation. Unexpectedly, mice lacking DCs developed aggravated disease compared to control mice. Furthermore, when we engineered DCs to present a CNS-associated autoantigen in an induced manner, we found robust tolerance that prevented disease, which coincided with an upregulation of the PD-1 receptor on antigen-specific T cells. Additionally, we showed that PD-1 was necessary for DC-mediated induction of regulatory T cells. Our results show that a reduction of DCs interferes with tolerance, resulting in a stronger inflammatory response, and that other APC populations could compensate for the loss of immunogenic APC function in DC-depleted mice.

The TASK1 Channel Inhibitor A293 Shows Efficacy in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis

Experimental Neurology. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22960185

The two-pore domain potassium channel TASK1 (KCNK3) has recently emerged as an important modulator in autoimmune CNS inflammation. Previously, it was shown that T lymphocytes obtained from TASK1(-/-) mice display impaired T cell effector functions and that TASK1(-/-) mice show a significantly reduced disease severity in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG(35-55)) peptide induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis. We here evaluate a potent and specific TASK1 channel inhibitor, A293, which caused a dose-dependent reduction of T cell effector functions (cytokine production and proliferation). This effect was abolished in CD4(+) T cells from TASK1(-/-) mice but not in cells from TASK3(-/-) mice. In electrophysiological measurements, A293 application induced a significant reduction of the outward current of wildtype T lymphocytes, while there was no effect in TASK1(-/-) cells. Preventive and therapeutic application of A293 significantly ameliorated the EAE disease course in wildtype mice while it had no significant effect in TASK1(-/-) mice and was still partly effective in TASK3(-/-) mice. In summary, our findings support the concept of TASK1 as an attractive drug target for autoimmune disorders.

TRPM2 Cation Channels Modulate T Cell Effector Functions and Contribute to Autoimmune CNS Inflammation

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23077651

TRPM2, a highly Ca(2+)-permeable member of the transient receptor potential melastatin-related (TRPM) family of cation channels, is expressed in cells of the immune system. We demonstrate firstly that TRPM2 cation channels on T cells critically influence T cell proliferation and proinflammatory cytokine secretion following polyclonal T cell receptor stimulation. Consistently, trpm2-deficient mice exhibited an attenuated clincal phenotype of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) with reduced inflammatory and demyelinating spinal cord lesions. Importantly, trmp2-deficient T cells were as susceptible as wildtype T cells to oxidative stress-induced cell death as it occurs in inflammatory CNS lesions. This supports the notion that the attenuated EAE phenotype is mainly due to reduced T cell effector functions but unaffected by potential modulation of T cell survival at the site of inflammation. Our findings suggest TRPM2 cation channels as a potential target for treating autoimmune CNS inflammation.

Paraneoplastic and Non-paraneoplastic Autoimmunity to Neurons in the Central Nervous System

Journal of Neurology. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 22983427

Autoimmune central nervous system (CNS) inflammation occurs both in a paraneoplastic and non-paraneoplastic context. In a widening spectrum of clinical disorders, the underlying adaptive (auto) immune response targets neurons with a divergent role for cellular and humoral disease mechanisms: (1) in encephalitis associated with antibodies to intracellular neuronal antigens, neuronal antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells seemingly account for irreversible progressive neuronal cell death and neurological decline with poor response to immunotherapy. However, a pathogenic effect of humoral immune mechanisms is also debated. (2) In encephalitis associated with antibodies to synaptic and extrasynaptic neuronal cell surface antigens, potentially reversible antibody-mediated disturbance of synaptic transmission and neuronal excitability occurs in the absence of excessive neuronal damage and accounts for a good response to immunotherapy. However, a pathogenic effect of cellular immune mechanisms is also debated. We provide an overview of entities, clinical hallmarks, imaging features, characteristic laboratory, electrophysiological, cerebrospinal fluid and neuropathological findings, cellular and molecular disease mechanisms as well as therapeutic options in these two broad categories of inflammatory CNS disorders.

Identification of Two-pore Domain Potassium Channels As Potent Modulators of Osmotic Volume Regulation in Human T Lymphocytes

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Feb, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23041580

Many functions of T lymphocytes are closely related to cell volume homeostasis and regulation, which utilize a complex network of membrane channels for anions and cations. Among the various potassium channels, the voltage-gated K(V)1.3 is well known to contribute greatly to the osmoregulation and particularly to the potassium release during the regulatory volume decrease (RVD) of T cells faced with hypotonic environment. Here we address a putative role of the newly identified two-pore domain (K(2P)) channels in the RVD of human CD4(+) T lymphocytes, using a series of potent well known channel blockers. In the present study, the pharmacological profiles of RVD inhibition revealed K(2P)5.1 and K(2P)18.1 as the most important K(2P) channels involved in the RVD of both naïve and stimulated T cells. The impact of chemical inhibition of K(2P)5.1 and K(2P)18.1 on the RVD was comparable to that of K(V)1.3. K(2P)9.1 also notably contributed to the RVD of T cells but the extent of this contribution and its dependence on the activation status could not be unambiguously resolved. In summary, our data provide first evidence that the RVD-related potassium efflux from human T lymphocytes relies on K(2P) channels.

Regulatory T Cells Are Strong Promoters of Acute Ischemic Stroke in Mice by Inducing Dysfunction of the Cerebral Microvasculature

Blood. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23160472

We have recently identified T cells as important mediators of ischemic brain damage, but the contribution of the different T-cell subsets is unclear. Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) are generally regarded as prototypic anti-inflammatory cells that maintain immune tolerance and counteract tissue damage in a variety of immune-mediated disorders. In the present study, we examined the role of Tregs after experimental brain ischemia/reperfusion injury. Selective depletion of Tregs in the DEREG mouse model dramatically reduced infarct size and improved neurologic function 24 hours after stroke and this protective effect was preserved at later stages of infarct development. The specificity of this detrimental Treg effect was confirmed by adoptive transfer experiments in wild-type mice and in Rag1(-/-) mice lacking lymphocytes. Mechanistically, Tregs induced microvascular dysfunction in vivo by increased interaction with the ischemic brain endothelium via the LFA-1/ICAM-1 pathway and platelets and these findings were confirmed in vitro. Ablation of Tregs reduced microvascular thrombus formation and improved cerebral reperfusion on stroke, as revealed by ultra-high-field magnetic resonance imaging at 17.6 Tesla. In contrast, established immunoregulatory characteristics of Tregs had no functional relevance. We define herein a novel and unexpected role of Tregs in a primary nonimmunologic disease state.

Clinical Effects of Natalizumab on Multiple Sclerosis Appear Early in Treatment Course

Journal of Neurology. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23292204

In clinical practice natalizumab is typically used in patients who have experienced breakthrough disease during treatment with interferon beta (IFNβ) or glatiramer acetate. In these patients it is important to reduce disease activity as quickly as possible. In a phase II study, differences between natalizumab and placebo in MRI outcomes reflecting inflammatory activity were evident after the first infusion and maintained through a 6-month period, suggesting a rapid onset of natalizumab treatment effects. To explore how soon after natalizumab initiation clinical effects become apparent, annualized relapse rates per 3-month period and time to first relapse were analyzed in the phase III AFFIRM study (natalizumab vs. placebo) and in the multinational Tysabri(®) Observational Program (TOP). In AFFIRM, natalizumab reduced the annualized relapse rate within 3 months of treatment initiation compared with placebo in the overall population (0.30 vs. 0.71; p < 0.0001) and in patients with highly active disease (0.30 vs. 0.94; p = 0.0039). The low annualized relapse rate was maintained throughout the 2-year study period, and the risk of relapse in AFFIRM patients treated with natalizumab was reduced [hazard ratio against placebo 0.42 (95 % CI 0.34-0.52); p < 0.0001]. Rapid reductions in annualized relapse rate also occurred in TOP (baseline 1.99 vs. 0-3 months 0.26; p < 0.0001). Natalizumab resulted in rapid, sustained reductions in disease activity in both AFFIRM and in clinical practice. This decrease in disease activity occurred within the first 3 months of treatment even in patients with more active disease.

Multiple Sclerosis: Reprogramming the Immune Repertoire with Alemtuzumab in MS

Nature Reviews. Neurology. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23358486

Results from two phase III trials show the potency of alemtuzumab—a T-cell and B-cell depleting antibody—in reducing clinical and paraclinical measures of disease activity in relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis. The effects of this immunotherapeutic agent highlight the relevance of T lymphocytes in the early pathogenesis of disease.

Dendritic Cell Vaccination in Autoimmune Disease

Current Opinion in Rheumatology. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23370378

Autoimmune diseases are the result of an imbalanced immune regulatory network. Tolerogenic dendritic cells (tolDCs) are key players of this network by inducing and maintaining both central and peripheral tolerance. Therefore, ex vivo generated tolDCs are considered as therapeutic vaccines to re-establish (antigen-specific) tolerance in autoimmune disorders.

Correction: Two Pore Domain Potassium Channels in Cerebral Ischemia: a Focus on K2P9.1 (TASK3, KCNK9)

Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23374257

An Assay to Quantify Species-specific Anti-JC Virus Antibody Levels in MS Patients

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23388163

The StratifyJCV® test is a qualitative assay to classify MS patients as anti-JC virus (JCV) antibody positive or negative. Quantification of anti-JCV antibody levels in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients might add to the progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) risk assessment.

Thalamic Involvement in Patients with Neurologic Impairment Due to Shiga Toxin 2

Annals of Neurology. Mar, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23424019

The outbreak of hemolytic-uremic syndrome and diarrhea caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O104:H4 in Germany during May to July 2011 involved severe and characteristic neurologic manifestations with a strong female preponderance. Owing to these observations, we designed a series of experimental studies to evaluate the underlying mechanism of action of this clinical picture.

Anti-JC Virus Antibody Prevalence in a Multinational Multiple Sclerosis Cohort

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Oct, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23459571

JC virus (JCV) is an opportunistic virus known to cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Anti-JC virus (Anti-JCV) antibody prevalence in a large, geographically diverse, multi-national multiple sclerosis (MS) cohort was compared in a cross-sectional study. Overall, anti-JCV antibody prevalence was 57.6%. Anti-JCV antibody prevalence in MS patients ranged from approximately 47% to 68% across these countries: Norway, 47.4%; Denmark, 52.6%; Israel, 56.6%; France, 57.6%; Italy, 58.3%; Sweden, 59.0%; Germany, 59.1%; Austria, 66.7% and Turkey, 67.7%. Prevalence increased with age (from 49.5% in patients < 30 years of age to 66.5% in patients ≥ 60 years of age; p < 0.0001 comparing all age categories), was lower in females than in males (55.8% versus 61.9%; p < 0.0001) and was not affected by prior immunosuppressant or natalizumab use.

Neurons As Targets for T Cells in the Nervous System

Trends in Neurosciences. Jun, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23478065

Accumulating evidence shows that T cells penetrate the central nervous system (CNS) parenchyma in several autoimmune, infectious, and degenerative neurological diseases. The structural and functional consequences for CNS neurons of their encounter with activated T cells have been investigated in several experimental systems, including ex vivo co-cultures, electrophysiology, and in vivo imaging. Here, we review the modalities of neuron/T cell interactions. We substantiate the contention that T cells are directly responsible for neuronal damage in a large number of neurological diseases and discuss mechanisms of neuronal damage mediated by distinct T cell subsets, the impact of which differs depending on the disease. Finally, we describe how a better understanding of the mechanisms at play offers new possibilities for therapeutic intervention.

Monoclonal Antibodies in Neuroinflammatory Diseases

Expert Opinion on Biological Therapy. Jun, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23521026

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) represent an emerging and rapidly growing field of therapy in neuroinflammatory diseases. Adhesion molecule blockade by natalizumab represents the first approved mAb therapy in neurology, approved for therapy of highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). Removal of immune cells by anti-CD52 mAb alemtuzumab or anti-CD20 mAb rituximab are other prime examples with existing positive Phase II and Phase III trials. MS clearly represents the neuroinflammatory disease entity with the largest body of evidence. However, some of these approaches are currently investigated or translated for use in other, rare neuroinflammatory diseases, such as neuromyelitis optica (NMO), inflammatory neuropathies and (neuro)-muscular disorders.

Interferon Beta Use and Disability Prevention in Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis

JAMA Neurology. Feb, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23530268

Fine-tuning of Regulatory T Cell Function: the Role of Calcium Signals and Naive Regulatory T Cells for Regulatory T Cell Deficiency in Multiple Sclerosis

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23576680

The suppressor function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) is impaired in multiple sclerosis (MS), but the mechanisms underlying this deficiency are not fully understood. As Tregs counteract the sustained elevation of intracellular calcium, which is indispensable for full activation of conventional T cells (Tcons), we hypothesized that interference with this pathway might prompt MS-related Treg dysfunction. Using single-cell live imaging, we observed that Tregs rapidly reduce Ca(2+) influx and downstream signals in Tcons upon cell contact, yet differ in their potency to efficiently suppress several target cells at the same time. Strikingly, individual Tregs harboring a CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RA(+) naive phenotype suppressed significantly more adjacent Tcons than did CD4(+)CD25(+)FOXP3(+)CD45RA(-) memory Tregs. Some constituents even completely failed to dampen Tcon Ca(2+) influx and were contained exclusively in the memory subset. In accordance with their more powerful suppressive performance, the Ca(2+) signature was considerably enhanced in naive Tregs in response to TCR triggering, compared with the memory counterparts. MS Tregs displayed a significantly diminished suppression of mean Ca(2+) influx in the sum of individual Tcons recorded. This reduced inhibitory activity was closely linked to decreased numbers of individual Tcons becoming suppressed by adjacent Tregs and, in turn, correlated with a marked reduction of naive subtypes and concomitant expansion of nonsuppressive memory phenotypes. We conclude that the superior achievement of naive Tregs is pivotal in maintaining Treg efficiency. As a consequence, MS Tregs become defective because they lack naive subtypes and are disproportionately enriched in memory cells that have lost their inherent downregulatory activity.

Modulation of IL-2Rα with Daclizumab for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Nature Reviews. Neurology. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23732529

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disorder involving autoimmune destruction of myelin. Although the pathogenic mechanisms underlying MS are not fully understood, T cells are thought to have a key role in orchestrating the aberrant CNS-directed adaptive immune response in the early and relapsing-remitting phase of disease. New therapeutic interventions with improved efficacy over existing drugs and good tolerability are needed. A promising therapy under investigation is daclizumab--a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against the IL-2 receptor α chain (CD25). Clinical trials have shown that daclizumab strongly inhibits disease activity and slows disease progression in MS. Novel and intriguing mechanisms of action of daclizumab have been identified that might explain its clinical efficacy--namely, expansion and enhancement of the immune regulatory function of CD56bright natural killer cells, reduction of early T-cell activation through blockade of IL-2 cross-presentation by dendritic cells, and reduction of lymphoid tissue inducer cells--thereby enhancing endogenous mechanisms of immune tolerance. This Review discusses the efficacy and safety of daclizumab in patients with MS and provides a detailed insight into the multifunctional mechanisms of action of this drug.

4-Aminopyridine Ameliorates Mobility but Not Disease Course in an Animal Model of Multiple Sclerosis

Experimental Neurology. Oct, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23748135

Neuropathological changes following demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) lead to a reorganization of axolemmal channels that causes conduction changes including conduction failure. Pharmacological modulation of voltage-sensitive potassium channels (K(V)) has been found to improve conduction in experimentally induced demyelination and produces symptomatic improvement in MS patients. Here we used an animal model of autoimmune inflammatory neurodegeneration, namely experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), to test the influence of the K(V)-inhibitor 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) on various disease and immune parameters as well as mobility in MOG₃₅₋₅₅ immunized C57Bl/6 mice. We challenged the hypothesis that 4-AP exerts relevant immunomodulatory or neuroprotective properties. Neither prophylactic nor therapeutic treatment with 4-AP altered disease incidence or disease course of EAE. Histopathological signs of demyelination and neuronal damage as well as MRI imaging of brain volume changes were unaltered. While application of 4-AP significantly reduced the standing outward current of stimulated CD4(+) T cells compared to controls, it failed to impact intracellular calcium concentrations in these cells. Compatibly, KV channel inhibition neither influenced CD4(+) T cell effector functions (proliferation, IL17 or IFNγ production). Importantly however, despite equal disease severity scores 4-AP treated animals showed improved mobility as assessed by 2 independent methods, 1) foot print and 2) rotarod analysis (0.332 ± 0.03, n=7 versus 0.399 ± 0.08, n=14, p<0.001, respectively). Our data suggest that 4-AP while having no apparent immunomodulatory or direct neuroprotective effects, significantly ameliorates conduction abnormalities thereby improving gait and coordination. Improvement of mobility in this experimental model supports trial data and clinical experience with 4-AP in the symptomatic treatment of MS.

Rasmussen Encephalitis Treated with Natalizumab

Neurology. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23794679

Con: Regulatory T Cells Are Protective in Ischemic Stroke

Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23821227

L-Selectin is a Possible Biomarker for Individual PML Risk in Natalizumab-treated MS Patients

Neurology. Aug, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23925765

To find biomarkers identifying patients at risk for the development of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) during natalizumab treatment.

Endothelial TWIK-related Potassium Channel-1 (TREK1) Regulates Immune-cell Trafficking into the CNS

Nature Medicine. Sep, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23933981

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an integral part of the neurovascular unit (NVU). The NVU is comprised of endothelial cells that are interconnected by tight junctions resting on a parenchymal basement membrane ensheathed by pericytes, smooth muscle cells and a layer of astrocyte end feet. Circulating blood cells, such as leukocytes, complete the NVU. BBB disruption is common in several neurological diseases, but the molecular mechanisms involved remain largely unknown. We analyzed the role of TWIK-related potassium channel-1 (TREK1, encoded by KCNK2) in human and mouse endothelial cells and the BBB. TREK1 was downregulated in endothelial cells by treatment with interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Blocking TREK1 increased leukocyte transmigration, whereas TREK1 activation had the opposite effect. We identified altered mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling, actin remodeling and upregulation of cellular adhesion molecules as potential mechanisms of increased migration in TREK1-deficient (Kcnk2(-/-)) cells. In Kcnk2(-/-) mice, brain endothelial cells showed an upregulation of the cellular adhesion molecules ICAM1, VCAM1 and PECAM1 and facilitated leukocyte trafficking into the CNS. Following the induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) by immunization with a myelin oligodendrocyte protein (MOG)35-55 peptide, Kcnk2(-/-) mice showed higher EAE severity scores that were accompanied by increased cellular infiltrates in the central nervous system (CNS). The severity of EAE was attenuated in mice given the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis drug riluzole or fed a diet enriched with linseed oil (which contains the TREK-1 activating omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid). These beneficial effects were reduced in Kcnk2(-/-) mice, suggesting TREK-1 activating compounds may be used therapeutically to treat diseases related to BBB dysfunction.

Excitotoxic Neuronal Cell Death During an Oligodendrocyte-directed CD8+ T Cell Attack in the CNS Gray Matter

Journal of Neuroinflammation. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24093512

Neural-antigen reactive cytotoxic CD8+ T cells contribute to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in a variety of inflammatory CNS disorders. Facing excess numbers of target cells, CNS-invading CD8+ T cells cause neuronal cell death either via confined release of cytotoxic effector molecules towards neurons, or via spillover of cytotoxic effector molecules from 'leaky' immunological synapses and non-confined release by CD8+ T cells themselves during serial and simultaneous killing of oligodendrocytes or astrocytes.

Identification of Inflammatory Neuronal Injury and Prevention of Neuronal Damage in Multiple Sclerosis: Hope for Novel Therapies?

JAMA Neurology. Dec, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24145957

Although multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been considered the prototype for an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, modern histopathology and imaging techniques show that significant damage to neuronal structures already start occurring in the earliest stages of the disease. As the disease progresses, the extent of neuronal pathology accumulates. Therapeutic progress in terms of the prevention of increased disability has only just begun.

Kinetics of IL-6 Production Defines T Effector Cell Responsiveness to Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24155968

In multiple sclerosis (MS) autoaggressive T effector cells (Teff) are not efficiently controlled by regulatory T cells (Treg) but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Proinflammatory cytokines are key factors facilitating Teff activity in chronic inflammation. Here we investigated the influence of IL-6 on Treg sensitivity of Teff from therapy-naïve MS patients with or without active disease. Compared to healthy volunteers and independent of disease course CD4(+) and especially CD8(+) MS-Teff were insensitive against functional active Treg from healthy controls. This unresponsiveness was caused by accelerated production of IL-6, elevated IL-6 receptor expression and phosphorylation of protein kinase B (PKB)/c-Akt in MS-Teff. In a positive feedback loop, IL-6 itself induced its accelerated synthesis and enhanced phosphorylation of PKB/c-Akt that finally mediated Treg resistance. Furthermore, accelerated IL-6 release especially by CD8(+) Teff prevented control of surrounding Teff, described here as "bystander resistance". Blockade of IL-6 receptor signaling or direct inhibition of PKB/c-Akt phosphorylation restored Treg responsiveness of Teff and prevented bystander resistance. In Teff of healthy controls (HC) exogenous IL-6 also changed the kinetics of IL-6 production and induced Treg unresponsiveness. This modulation was only transient in Teff from healthy volunteers, whereas accelerated IL-6 production in MS-Teff maintained also in absence of IL-6. Hence, we showed that the kinetics of IL-6 production instead of elevated IL-6 levels defines the Teff responsiveness in early Treg-T cell communication in MS independent of their disease course and propose IL-6 and associated PKB/c-Akt activation as effective therapeutic targets for modulation of Teff activity in MS.

DTI Detects Water Diffusion Abnormalities in the Thalamus That Correlate with an Extremity Pain Episode in a Patient with Multiple Sclerosis

NeuroImage. Clinical. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24179780

Various types of multiple sclerosis (MS) related pain have been discussed. One concept is that deafferentation secondary to lesions in the spino-thalamo-cortical network can cause central pain. However, this hypothesis is somehow limited by a lack of a robust association between pain episodes and sites of lesion location.

Correction: Kinetics of IL-6 Production Defines T Effector Cell Responsiveness to Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24282490

[This corrects the article on p. e77634 in vol. 8.].

CD4+NKG2D+ T Cells Exhibit Enhanced Migratory and Encephalitogenic Properties in Neuroinflammation

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24282598

Migration of encephalitogenic CD4(+) T lymphocytes across the blood-brain barrier is an essential step in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We here demonstrate that expression of the co-stimulatory receptor NKG2D defines a subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells with elevated levels of markers for migration, activation, and cytolytic capacity especially when derived from MS patients. Furthermore, CD4(+)NKG2D(+) cells produce high levels of proinflammatory IFN-γ and IL-17 upon stimulation. NKG2D promotes the capacity of CD4(+)NKG2D(+) cells to migrate across endothelial cells in an in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier. CD4(+)NKG2D(+) T cells are enriched in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients, and a significant number of CD4(+) T cells in MS lesions coexpress NKG2D. We further elucidated the role of CD4(+)NKG2D(+) T cells in the mouse system. NKG2D blockade restricted central nervous system migration of T lymphocytes in vivo, leading to a significant decrease in the clinical and pathologic severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model of MS. Blockade of NKG2D reduced killing of cultivated mouse oligodendrocytes by activated CD4(+) T cells. Taken together, we identify CD4(+)NKG2D(+) cells as a subpopulation of T helper cells with enhanced migratory, encephalitogenic and cytotoxic properties involved in inflammatory CNS lesion development.

Evans Syndrome Associated with Sterile Inflammation of the Central Nervous System: a Case Report

Journal of Medical Case Reports. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24299473

Evans syndrome is a rare hematological disease commonly defined as Coombs-positive hemolytic anemia and immune thrombocytopenia. Pathophysiology of this disease involves decreased cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ T-helper cell counts, increased CD8+ T-suppressor cell counts, a decreased CD4/CD8 ratio, and reduced serum immunoglobulin G, M and A levels - indicating a complex immune dysregulation. Association with other autoimmune diseases has been described although involvement of the central nervous system has not been reported so far.

Specific Loss of Cellular L-selectin on CD4+ T Cells is Associated with PML Development During HIV Infection

AIDS (London, England). Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24445368

HIV progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) patients had a significantly lower expression of CD62L on CD4 T cells (P < 0.001) when compared with HIV patients who did not develop PML. CD62L expression on CD4 T cells did not correlate with parameters such as CDC stage, CD4 cell percentage (of total CD3 T cells), CD4 cell counts, virus count, or clinical parameters. Measurement of CD62L might provide a biomarker for PML risk and could prompt a treatment change and/or close monitoring.

Clinical Relevance of Brain Volume Measures in Multiple Sclerosis

CNS Drugs. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24446248

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease with an inflammatory and neurodegenerative pathology. Axonal loss and neurodegeneration occurs early in the disease course and may lead to irreversible neurological impairment. Changes in brain volume, observed from the earliest stage of MS and proceeding throughout the disease course, may be an accurate measure of neurodegeneration and tissue damage. There are a number of magnetic resonance imaging-based methods for determining global or regional brain volume, including cross-sectional (e.g. brain parenchymal fraction) and longitudinal techniques (e.g. SIENA [Structural Image Evaluation using Normalization of Atrophy]). Although these methods are sensitive and reproducible, caution must be exercised when interpreting brain volume data, as numerous factors (e.g. pseudoatrophy) may have a confounding effect on measurements, especially in a disease with complex pathological substrates such as MS. Brain volume loss has been correlated with disability progression and cognitive impairment in MS, with the loss of grey matter volume more closely correlated with clinical measures than loss of white matter volume. Preventing brain volume loss may therefore have important clinical implications affecting treatment decisions, with several clinical trials now demonstrating an effect of disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) on reducing brain volume loss. In clinical practice, it may therefore be important to consider the potential impact of a therapy on reducing the rate of brain volume loss. This article reviews the measurement of brain volume in clinical trials and practice, the effect of DMTs on brain volume change across trials and the clinical relevance of brain volume loss in MS.

New Evidence for Teriflunomide in Multiple Sclerosis

Lancet Neurology. Mar, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24461573

Efficacy and Safety of Natalizumab in Multiple Sclerosis: Interim Observational Programme Results

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24532785

Clinical trials established the efficacy and safety of natalizumab. Data are needed over longer periods of time and in the clinical practice setting.

Specific Aspects of Modern Life for People with Multiple Sclerosis: Considerations for the Practitioner

Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders. Mar, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24587828

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, debilitating, neurodegenerative disease that has a high impact on patients' quality of life. Individuals are often diagnosed in early adulthood and are faced with the difficulty of managing their lifestyle within the context of this chronic illness. Here we review factors that influence the disease course and the challenges that might be encountered when managing patients with MS. The majority of diagnosed patients are women of childbearing age, making pregnancy-related issues a key concern. MS typically stabilizes during pregnancy and evidence suggests that the disease has no impact on the risk of complications or outcomes. However, the effect of disease-modifying therapies on outcomes is less clear, and discontinuation of treatment prior to pregnancy or when breastfeeding is recommended. Awareness of genetic risk factors is important for patients planning a family, as several genes increase the risk of MS. Further aspects that require consideration include infections, vaccinations, environmental factors, surgery and the emergence of osteoporosis. Vaccinations are generally not a risk factor for MS and may be beneficial in terms of protection against infection and reducing the number of relapses. Environmental factors such as vitamin D deficiency, low exposure to sunlight, smoking and Epstein-Barr virus infection can all negatively influence the disease course. Furthermore, osteoporosis is generally higher in patients with MS than the general population, and the risk is increased by the environmental and genetic factors associated with the disease; bone mineral density should be assessed and smoking cessation and correction of serum vitamin D levels are recommended. Finally, as patients with MS are typically young, they are at low risk of surgery-related complications, although they should be carefully monitored postoperatively. Awareness of, and planning around, these factors may minimize the impact of the disease on patients' lifestyle.

The Neuroinflammation Biobank in the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Muenster, Germany

Biopreservation and Biobanking. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24620773

Programmed Cell Death-1 Deficiency Exacerbates T Cell Activation and Atherogenesis Despite Expansion of Regulatory T Cells in Atherosclerosis-Prone Mice

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24691202

T cell activation represents a double-edged sword in atherogenesis, as it promotes both pro-inflammatory T cell activation and atheroprotective Foxp3+ regulatory T cell (Treg) responses. Here, we investigated the role of the co-inhibitory receptor programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) in T cell activation and CD4+ T cell polarization towards pro-atherogenic or atheroprotective responses in mice. Mice deficient for both low density lipoprotein receptor and PD-1 (Ldlr-/-Pd1-/-) displayed striking increases in systemic CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation after 9 weeks of high fat diet feeding, associated with an expansion of both pro-atherogenic IFNγ-secreting T helper 1 cells and atheroprotective Foxp3+ Tregs. Importantly, PD-1 deficiency did not affect Treg suppressive function in vitro. Notably, PD-1 deficiency exacerbated atherosclerotic lesion growth and entailed a massive infiltration of T cells in atherosclerotic lesions. In addition, aggravated hypercholesterolemia was observed in Ldlr-/-Pd1-/- mice. In conclusion, we here demonstrate that although disruption of PD-1 signaling enhances both pro- and anti-atherogenic T cell responses in Ldlr-/- mice, pro-inflammatory T cell activation prevails and enhances dyslipidemia, vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis.

Teriflunomide and Its Mechanism of Action in Multiple Sclerosis

Drugs. Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24740824

Treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) is challenging: disease-modifying treatments (DMTs) must both limit unwanted immune responses associated with disease initiation and propagation (as T and B lymphocytes are critical cellular mediators in the pathophysiology of relapsing MS), and also have minimal adverse impact on normal protective immune responses. In this review, we summarize key preclinical and clinical data relating to the proposed mechanism of action of the recently approved DMT teriflunomide in MS. Teriflunomide selectively and reversibly inhibits dihydro-orotate dehydrogenase, a key mitochondrial enzyme in the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway, leading to a reduction in proliferation of activated T and B lymphocytes without causing cell death. Results from animal experiments modelling the immune activation implicated in MS demonstrate reductions in disease symptoms with teriflunomide treatment, accompanied by reduced central nervous system lymphocyte infiltration, reduced axonal loss, and preserved neurological functioning. In agreement with the results obtained in these model systems, phase 3 clinical trials of teriflunomide in patients with MS have consistently shown that teriflunomide provides a therapeutic benefit, and importantly, does not cause clinical immune suppression. Taken together, these data demonstrate how teriflunomide acts as a selective immune therapy for patients with MS.

Blocking of α4 Integrin Does Not Protect from Acute Ischemic Stroke in Mice

Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation. Jun, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24743435

T lymphocytes have recently been identified as key mediators of tissue damage in ischemic stroke. The interaction between very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) and vascular adhesion molecule-1 is crucial for the transvascular egress of T lymphocytes, and inhibition of this interaction by specific antibodies is a powerful strategy to combat autoimmune neuroinflammation. However, whether pharmacological blocking of T-lymphocyte trafficking is also protective during brain ischemia is still unclear. We investigated the efficacy of a monoclonal antibody directed against VLA-4 in mouse models of ischemic stroke.

Human CD4+ HLA-G+ Regulatory T Cells Are Potent Suppressors of Graft-versus-host Disease in Vivo

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24744146

CD4(+) T cells expressing the immunotolerizing molecule HLA-G have been described as a unique human thymus-derived regulatory T (tTreg) cell subset involved in immunoregulation and parenchymal homeostasis during infectious and autoimmune inflammation. We compared properties and molecular characteristics of human CD4(+)HLA-G(+) with those of CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3-expressing tTreg cells using in vitro studies of T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling, single-cell electrophysiology, and functional in vivo studies. Both tTreg populations are characterized by alterations in proximal-signaling pathways on TCR stimulation and a hyperpolarization of the plasma membrane when compared to conventional CD4(+) T cells. However, both clearly differ in phenotype and pattern of secreted cytokines, which results in distinct mechanisms of suppression: While CD4(+)HLA-G(+) cells secrete high levels of inhibitory molecules (IL-10, soluble HLA-G, IL-35), CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) cells express these molecules at significantly lower levels and seem to exert their function mainly in a contact-dependent manner via cyclic adenosine-monophosphate. Finally we demonstrate that human CD4(+)HLA-G(+) tTreg cells significantly ameliorated graft-versus-host disease in a humanized mouse model as a first proof of their in vivo relevance. Our data further characterize and establish CD4(+)HLA-G(+) cells as a potent human tTreg population that can modulate polyclonal adaptive immune responses in vivo and thus being a promising candidate for potential clinical applications in the future.

Ultraviolet B Light Attenuates the Systemic Immune Response in Central Nervous System Autoimmunity

Annals of Neurology. May, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24771567

Environmental conditions (eg, latitude) play a critical role in the susceptibility and severity of many autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Here, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of immune regulatory processes induced in the skin by moderate ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation on central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity.

Phospholipase D1 Mediates Lymphocyte Adhesion and Migration in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

European Journal of Immunology. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24811005

Lymphocyte adhesion and subsequent trafficking across endothelial barriers are essential steps in various immune-mediated disorders of the CNS, including MS. The molecular mechanisms underlying these processes, however, are still unknown. Phospholipase D1 (PLD1), an enzyme that generates phosphatidic acid through hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine and additionally yields choline as a product, has been described as regulator of the cell mobility. By using PLD1-deficient mice, we investigated the functional significance of PLD1 for lymphocyte adhesion and migration in vitro and after myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35-55 -induced EAE, a model of human MS. The lack of PLD1 reduced chemokine-mediated static adhesion of lymphocytes to the endothelial adhesion molecules vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) in vitro, and was accompanied by a decreased migratory capacity in both blood brain barrier and cell migration models. Importantly, PLD1 is also relevant for the recruitment of immune cells into the CNS in vivo since disease severity after EAE was significantly attenuated in PLD1-deficient mice. Furthermore, PLD1 expression could be detected on lymphocytes in MS patients. Our findings suggest a critical function of PLD1-dependent intracellular signaling cascades in regulating lymphocyte trafficking during autoimmune CNS inflammation.

Immunophenotyping of Cerebrospinal Fluid Cells in Multiple Sclerosis: in Search of Biomarkers

JAMA Neurology. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24818670

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is the compartment in closest proximity to the central nervous system (CNS) parenchyma and might reflect immune pathology in inflammatory CNS disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiparameter flow cytometry is used to characterize immunological alterations in the CSF of patients with MS.

Effects of Glatiramer Acetate in a Spontaneous Model of Autoimmune Neuroinflammation

The American Journal of Pathology. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24819960

Glatiramer acetate (GA) (Copaxone), a well-established drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, is believed to modulate numerous pathways including antigen-presenting cells or cytokine responses. A new generation of spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse models has been developed that mimic certain aspects of multiple sclerosis spectrum disorders. We assessed the effects of GA in the opticospinal encephalomyelitis model, which involves MOG35-55 peptide-specific T cells and B cells. A nonsignificant trend toward lower disease incidence was found for GA treatment (started on postnatal day 20). Immunohistochemical evaluations revealed no significant differences for inflammatory lesions and demyelination, cytokine production, proliferation, and cell surface markers of immune cells between GA-treated and PBS-treated (control) mice. Although a good correlation was found between the disease score of individual mice and some readout parameters (eg, immunohistochemical staining), this was not the case for others (eg, IFN-γ production). It seems plausible that a major effect of GA lies on alternative immunological pathways, such as initiating of an immune response that is not sufficiently reflected in this spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model. Thus, the main advantage of the opticospinal encephalomyelitis model in our hands lies in the elucidation of factors influencing the onset of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (eg, susceptibility factors). The model seems less suitable for investigation of disease severity modifications after therapeutic interventions.

Response to Letter Regarding Article, "blocking of α4 Integrin Does Not Protect from Acute Ischemic Stroke in Mice"

Stroke. Sep, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25061081

VLA-4 Blockade Promotes Differential Routes into Human CNS Involving PSGL-1 Rolling of T Cells and MCAM-adhesion of TH17 Cells

The Journal of Experimental Medicine. Aug, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25135296

The focus of this study is the characterization of human T cell blood-brain barrier migration and corresponding molecular trafficking signatures. We examined peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid immune cells from patients under long-term anti-very late antigen-4 (VLA-4)/natalizumab therapy (LTNT) and from CNS specimens. LTNT patients' cerebrospinal fluid T cells exhibited healthy central-/effector-memory ratios, but lacked CD49d and showed enhanced myeloma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) expression. LTNT led to an increase of PSGL-1 expression on peripheral T cells. Although vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VLA-4 receptor) was expressed at all CNS barriers, P-selectin (PSGL-1-receptor) was mainly detected at the choroid plexus. Accordingly, in vitro experiments under physiological flow conditions using primary human endothelial cells and LTNT patients' T cells showed increased PSGL-1-mediated rolling and residual adhesion, even under VLA-4 blockade. Adhesion of MCAM(+)/TH17 cells was not affected by VLA-4 blocking alone, but was abrogated when both VLA-4 and MCAM were inhibited. Consistent with these data, MCAM(+) cells were detected in white matter lesions, and in gray matter of multiple sclerosis patients. Our data indicate that lymphocyte trafficking into the CNS under VLA-4 blockade can occur by using the alternative adhesion molecules, PSGL-1 and MCAM, the latter representing an exclusive pathway for TH17 cells to migrate over the blood-brain barrier.

FoxP3+ Regulatory T Cells Determine Disease Severity in Rodent Models of Inflammatory Neuropathies

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25286182

Inflammatory neuropathies represent disabling human autoimmune disorders with considerable disease variability. Animal models provide insights into defined aspects of their disease pathogenesis. Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3)+ regulatory T lymphocytes (Treg) are anti-inflammatory cells that maintain immune tolerance and counteract tissue damage in a variety of immune-mediated disorders. Dysfunction or a reduced frequency of Tregs have been associated with different human autoimmune disorders. We here analyzed the functional relevance of Tregs in determining disease manifestation and severity in murine models of autoimmune neuropathies. We took advantage of the DEREG mouse system allowing depletion of Treg with high specificity as well as anti-CD25 directed antibodies to deplete Tregs in mice in actively induced experimental autoimmune neuritis (EAN). Furthermore antibody-depletion was performed in an adoptive transfer model of chronic neuritis. Early Treg depletion increased clinical EAN severity both in active and adoptive transfer chronic neuritis. This was accompanied by increased proliferation of myelin specific T cells and histological signs of peripheral nerve inflammation. Late stage Treg depletion after initial disease manifestation however did not exacerbate inflammatory neuropathy symptoms further. We conclude that Tregs determine disease severity in experimental autoimmune neuropathies during the initial priming phase, but have no major disease modifying function after disease manifestation. Potential future therapeutic approaches targeting Tregs should thus be performed early in inflammatory neuropathies.

CD3-positive B Cells: a Storage-dependent Phenomenon

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25329048

The majority of clinical studies requires extensive management of human specimen including e.g. overnight shipping of blood samples in order to convey the samples in a central laboratory or to simultaneously analyze large numbers of patients. Storage of blood samples for periods of time before in vitro/ex vivo testing is known to influence the antigen expression on the surface of lymphocytes. In this context, the present results show for the first time that the T cell antigen CD3 can be substantially detected on the surface of human B cells after ex vivo storage and that the degree of this phenomenon critically depends on temperature and duration after blood withdrawal. The appearance of CD3 on the B cell surface seems to be a result of contact-dependent antigen exchange between T and B lymphocytes and is not attributed to endogenous production by B cells. Since cellular subsets are often classified by phenotypic analyses, our results indicate that ex vivo cellular classification in peripheral blood might result in misleading interpretations. Therefore, in order to obtain results reflecting the in vivo situation, it is suggested to minimize times of ex vivo blood storage after isolation of PBMC. Moreover, to enable reproducibility of results between different research groups and multicenter studies, we would emphasize the necessity to specify and standardize the storage conditions, which might be the basis of particular findings.

Effects of Blood Transportation on Human Peripheral Mononuclear Cell Yield, Phenotype and Function: Implications for Immune Cell Biobanking

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25541968

Human biospecimen collection, processing and preservation are rapidly emerging subjects providing essential support to clinical as well as basic researchers. Unlike collection of other biospecimens (e.g. DNA and serum), biobanking of viable immune cells, such as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and/or isolated immune cell subsets is still in its infancy. While certain aspects of processing and freezing conditions have been studied in the past years, little is known about the effect of blood transportation on immune cell survival, phenotype and specific functions. However, especially for multicentric and cooperative projects it is vital to precisely know those effects. In this study we investigated the effect of blood shipping and pre-processing delay on immune cell phenotype and function both on cellular and subcellular levels. Peripheral blood was collected from healthy volunteers (n = 9): at a distal location (shipped overnight) and in the central laboratory (processed immediately). PBMC were processed in the central laboratory and analyzed post-cryopreservation. We analyzed yield, major immune subset distribution, proliferative capacity of T cells, cytokine pattern and T-cell receptor signal transduction. Results show that overnight transportation of blood samples does not globally compromise T- cell subsets as they largely retain their phenotype and proliferative capacity. However, NK and B cell frequencies, the production of certain PBMC-derived cytokines and IL-6 mediated cytokine signaling pathway are altered due to transportation. Various control experiments have been carried out to compare issues related to shipping versus pre-processing delay on site. Our results suggest the implementation of appropriate controls when using multicenter logistics for blood transportation aiming at subsequent isolation of viable immune cells, e.g. in multicenter clinical trials or studies analyzing immune cells/subsets. One important conclusion might be that despite changes due to overnight shipment, highly standardized central processing (and analysis) could be superior to multicentric de-central processing with more difficult standardization.

Long-term Efficacy of Alemtuzumab in Polymyositis

Rheumatology (Oxford, England). Dec, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25552256

Increased Cortical Curvature Reflects White Matter Atrophy in Individual Patients with Early Multiple Sclerosis

NeuroImage. Clinical. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25610761

White matter atrophy occurs independently of lesions in multiple sclerosis. In contrast to lesion detection, the quantitative assessment of white matter atrophy in individual patients has been regarded as a major challenge. We therefore tested the hypothesis that white matter atrophy (WMA) is present at the very beginning of multiple sclerosis (MS) and in virtually each individual patient. To find a new sensitive and robust marker for WMA we investigated the relationship between cortical surface area, white matter volume (WMV), and whole-brain-surface-averaged rectified cortical extrinsic curvature. Based on geometrical considerations we hypothesized that cortical curvature increases if WMV decreases and the cortical surface area remains constant.

Facing the Challenges of Chronic Pruritus: a Report from a Multi-disciplinary Medical Itch Centre in Germany

Acta Dermato-venereologica. Mar, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25136974

The complex nature and difficult-to-establish aetiology of chronic pruritus (CP) makes it challenging to provide medical care for patients with CP. This challenge can only be met with a multidisciplinary approach. The first multidisciplinary Itch Centre in Germany was established at the University of Münster in 2002 to meet the needs of this patient population. More than 2,500 outpatients and 400 inpatients are diagnosed and receive treatment each year. To ensure evidence-based medical care, an electronic system for medical documentation and patient-reported outcomes was established. Automated data transfer to a research database enables comprehensive data analysis. Our translational research has characterized peripheral and central itch mechanisms, provided novel clustering of CP patients, and identified novel target-specific therapies (e.g. neurokinin 1 receptor-antagonist). The multidisciplinary approach, combined with basic, clinical and translational research, enables comprehensive medical care of patients as well as implementation of high-quality experimental and clinical studies.

Apraxia Profile Differentiates Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal from Alzheimer's Dementia in Mild Disease Stages

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25248366

Despite refined criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), its differentiation from Alzheimer's dementia (AD) remains difficult at early clinical presentation. Apraxia is not considered as a supportive feature for the diagnosis of bvFTD, but for AD. However, only few studies have quantified praxis disturbances in mild disease stages and their specificity for AD compared with bvFTD remains indistinct. We explore apraxia in bvFTD and investigate the differential validity of apraxia screening tests to distinguish between AD, bvFTD and healthy controls (HC).

Clinical Relevance of Specific T-cell Activation in the Blood and Cerebrospinal Fluid of Patients with Mild Alzheimer's Disease

Neurobiology of Aging. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25277040

In Alzheimer's disease, the contribution of inflammation is still controversially discussed. The aim of this study was to identify a particular immune profile in the peripheral blood (PB) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease (mAD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and its potential functional relevance and association with neurodegeneration. A total of 88 patients with cognitive decline (54 mAD, 19 MCI, and 15 other dementias) were included in this study and compared with a group of younger (mean age, 31.3 years) and older (mean age, 68.9 years) healthy volunteers. Patients underwent detailed neurologic and neuropsychological examination, magnetic resonance imaging including voxel-based morphometry of gray matter, voxel-based diffusion tensor imaging, and white matter lesion volumetry, and PB and CSF analysis including multiparameter flow cytometry. Multiparameter flow cytometry revealed that proportions of activated HLA-DR positive CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cells were slightly and significantly increased in the PB of MCI and mAD patients, respectively, when compared with healthy elderly controls but not in patients with other dementias. Although only a slight enhancement of the proportion of activated CD4(+) T-cells was observed in the CSF of both MCI and mAD patients, the proportion of activated CD8(+) T-cells was significantly increased in the CSF of mAD patients when compared with healthy elderly individuals. A slight increase in the proportion of activated CD8(+) T-cells was also observed in the intrathecal compartment of MCI patients. Activation of cytotoxic CD8(+) T-cells was considerably related to AD-typical neuropsychological deficits. Voxel-based regression analysis revealed a significant correlation between CD8(+) T-cell activation and microstructural tissue damage within parahippocampal areas as assessed by diffusion tensor imaging. Taken together, peripheral and intrathecal CD8(+) T-cell activation in mAD was significantly different from other dementias, suggesting a specific adaptive immune response. Lymphocyte activation seems to have a clinical impact because levels of activated CD8(+) T-cells were correlated with clinical and structural markers of AD pathology.

CD28 Superagonist-mediated Boost of Regulatory T Cells Increases Thrombo-inflammation and Ischemic Neurodegeneration During the Acute Phase of Experimental Stroke

Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism : Official Journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25315859

While the detrimental role of non-regulatory T cells in ischemic stroke is meanwhile unequivocally recognized, there are controversies about the properties of regulatory T cells (Treg). The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of Treg by applying superagonistic anti-CD28 antibody expansion of Treg. Stroke outcome, thrombus formation, and brain-infiltrating cells were determined on day 1 after transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Antibody-mediated expansion of Treg enhanced stroke size and worsened functional outcome. Mechanistically, Treg increased thrombus formation in the cerebral microvasculature. These findings confirm that Treg promote thrombo-inflammatory lesion growth during the acute stage of ischemic stroke.

Therapeutic Uses of Anti-α4-integrin (anti-VLA-4) Antibodies in Multiple Sclerosis

International Immunology. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25326459

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder of putative autoimmune origin, where immune cells invade the central nervous system and cause damage by attacking the myelin sheath of nerve cells. The blockade of the integrin very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) with the monoclonal antibody natalizumab has become the most effective therapy against MS since its approval in 2004. It is assumed that the inhibition of VLA-4-mediated immune cell adhesion to the endothelium of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) alleviates pathogenic processes of MS and, therefore, reduces disease severity and burden. Not all approaches to treat additional immune-mediated disorders (e.g. Rasmussen encephalitis and neuromyelitis optica) with natalizumab have been successful, but allowed researchers to gain additional insight into mechanisms of specific immune cell subsets' migration through the BBB in the human system. While the long-term efficacy and general tolerability of natalizumab in MS are clear, the over 400 cases of natalizumab-associated progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have been of great concern and methods of risk stratification in patients have become a major area of research. Modern risk stratification includes established factors such as treatment duration, previous immune-suppressive therapy, and anti-John Cunningham virus (JCV) antibody seropositivity, but also experimental factors such as anti-JCV antibody titers and levels of L-selectin. Today, anti-VLA-4 therapy is reserved for patients with highly active relapsing-remitting MS and patients are monitored closely for early signs of potential PML.

Fingolimod Does Not Impair T-cell Release from the Thymus and Beneficially Affects Treg Function in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25583847

In multiple sclerosis (MS), disturbed T-cell homeostasis affects both conventional CD4(+) T cells (Tcon) and regulatory T cells (Treg). Functionally, this is linked to a loss of Treg-suppressive properties. Concerns exist as to whether fingolimod might further aggravate Treg dysfunction by inhibiting thymic egress and, thus, promoting premature immunosenescence.

A Human Post-mortem Brain Model for the Standardization of Multi-centre MRI Studies

NeuroImage. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25595502

Multi-centre MRI studies of the brain are essential for enrolling large and diverse patient cohorts, as required for the investigation of heterogeneous neurological and psychiatric diseases. However, the multi-site comparison of standard MRI data sets that are weighted with respect to tissue parameters such as the relaxation times (T1, T2) and proton density (PD) may be problematic, as signal intensities and image contrasts depend on site-specific details such as the sequences used, imaging parameters, and sensitivity profiles of the radiofrequency (RF) coils. Water or gel phantoms are frequently used for long-term and/or inter-site quality assessment. However, these phantoms hardly mimic the structure, shape, size or tissue distribution of the human brain. The goals of this study were: (1) to validate the long-term stability of a human post-mortem brain phantom, performing quantitative mapping of T1, T2, and PD, and the magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) over a period of 18months; (2) to acquire and analyse data for this phantom and the brain of a healthy control (HC) in a multi-centre study for MRI protocol standardization in four centres, while conducting a voxel-wise as well as whole brain grey (GM) and white matter (WM) tissue volume comparison. MTR, T2, and the quotient of PD in WM and GM were stable in the post-mortem brain with no significant changes. T1 was found to decrease from 267/236ms (GM/WM) to 234/216ms between 5 and 17weeks post embedment, stabilizing during an 18-month period following the first scan at about 215/190ms. The volumetric measures, based on T1-weighted MP-RAGE images obtained at all participating centres, revealed inter- and intra-centre variations in the evaluated GM and WM volumes that displayed similar trends in both the post-mortem brain as well as the HC. At a confidence level of 95%, brain regions such as the brainstem, deep GM structures as well as boundaries between GM and WM tissues were found to be less reproducible than other brain regions in all participating centres. The results demonstrate that a post-mortem brain phantom may be used as a reliable tool for multi-centre MR studies.

FTY720 (fingolimod) Treatment Tips the Balance Towards Less Immunogenic Antigen-presenting Cells in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25732840

We aimed to clarify whether fingolimod has direct effects on antigen-presenting cells in multiple sclerosis patients.

Randomized Study of Teriflunomide Effects on Immune Responses to Neoantigen and Recall Antigens

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25738167

To evaluate immune responses to neoantigen and recall antigens in healthy subjects treated with teriflunomide.

Fingolimod Treatment Promotes Regulatory Phenotype and Function of B Cells

Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Feb, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25750917

To evaluate the influence of Fingolimod treatment on B-cell subset composition and function in multiple sclerosis patients and its potential clinical relevance.

Gaps Between Aims and Achievements in Therapeutic Modification of Neuronal Damage ("Neuroprotection")

Neurotherapeutics : the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25773662

The term "neuroprotection" is often misused, overused, or misunderstood. A reasonable definition of neuroprotection refers to the preservation of "neuronal structure and/or function." Although our knowledge about the cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration has expanded, experimental systems and animal models that mimic the process or allow translation into clinical success remain limited. This editorial discusses reasons for this gap and strategies to close it. Experimental models can only mirror certain aspects of disease mechanisms in humans. Therefore, findings in these models need to be linked with patient data to improve real-life relevance. Successful neuroprotection depends on finding the right "window of opportunity" which varies from very short (stroke) to very long (Alzheimer's disease), necessitating the need to focus on strategies for very early disease recognition. This need challenges the strategies to be chosen, trial approaches and methodologies, and the allocation of resources. Additionally, outcome measures are often not well suited to assess neuroprotection. To this end, surrogate measures, including biomarkers, are useful endpoints to demonstrate evidence of target directed therapeutic utility. Finally, studies have shown that neuroprotection is not likely to succeed when targeting only one pathway. These obstacles have reduced the level of enthusiasm for neuroprotection in certain disease areas (e.g., stroke). Academia, industry, regulatory authorities, funding agencies and patient organizations have to cooperate to a greater extent in order to overcome these impediments and to encourage nonclassical concepts. These concepts will be interdisciplinary in order to achieve meaningful disease modification.

Comparative Efficacy of Switching to Natalizumab in Active Multiple Sclerosis

Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25909083

To compare treatment efficacy and persistence in patients who switched to natalizumab versus those who switched between glatiramer acetate (GA) and interferon-beta (IFNβ) after an on-treatment relapse on IFNβ or GA using propensity score matched real-world datasets.

Switching from Natalizumab to Fingolimod: A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study in RRMS

Neurology. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26024899

To investigate the effect of different natalizumab washout (WO) periods on recurrence of MRI and clinical disease activity in patients switching from natalizumab to fingolimod.

Pharmacological Approaches to Delaying Disability Progression in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Drugs. Jun, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26033077

In individuals with multiple sclerosis, physical and cognitive disability progression are clinical and pathophysiological hallmarks of the disease. Despite shortcomings, particularly in capturing cognitive deficits, the Expanded Disability Status Scale is the assessment of disability progression most widely used in clinical trials. Here, we review treatment effects on disability that have been reported in large clinical trials of disease-modifying treatment, both among patients with relapsing-remitting disease and among those with progressive disease. However, direct comparisons are confounded to some degree by the lack of consistency in assessment of disability progression across trials. Confirmed disability progression (CDP) is a more robust measure when performed over a 6-month than a 3-month interval, and reduction in the risk of 6-month CDP in phase III trials provides good evidence for the beneficial effects on disability of several high-efficacy treatments for relapsing-remitting disease. It is also becoming increasingly clear that therapies effective in relapsing-remitting disease have little impact on the course of progressive disease. Given that the pathophysiological mechanisms, which lead to the long-term accrual of physical and cognitive deficits, are evident at the earliest stages of disease, it remains a matter of debate whether the most effective therapies are administered early enough to afford patients the best long-term outcomes.

Assessment of Immune Functions and MRI Disease Activity in Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis Patients Switching from Natalizumab to Fingolimod (ToFingo-Successor)

BMC Neurology. Jun, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26099927

In light of the increased risk of progressive multifocal encephalopathy (PML) development under long-term treatment with the monoclonal antibody natalizumab which is approved for treatment of active relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), there is a clear need for alternative treatment options with comparable efficacy and reduced PML risk. One such option is fingolimod, a functional sphingosin-1-receptor antagonist that has been approved as first oral drug for treatment of active RRMS. However, the optimal switching design in terms of prevention of disease reoccurrence is still unknown. Moreover, potential additive effects of both drugs on immune functions, especially with regard to migration, have not yet been evaluated.

Nrf2 and Beyond: Deciphering the Mode of Action of Fumarates in the Inflamed Central Nervous System

Acta Neuropathologica. Aug, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26123982

The Two-pore Domain K2 P Channel TASK2 Drives Human NK-cell Proliferation and Cytolytic Function

European Journal of Immunology. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26140335

Natural killer (NK) cells are a subset of cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize and kill tumor- and virus-infected cells without prior stimulation. Killing of target cells is a multistep process including adhesion to target cells, formation of an immunological synapse, and polarization and release of cytolytic granules. The role of distinct potassium channels in this orchestrated process is still poorly understood. The current study reveals that in addition to the voltage-gated KV 1.3 and the calcium-activated KCa 3.1 channels, human NK cells also express the two-pore domain K2 P channel TASK2 (TWIK-related acid-sensitive potassium channel). Expression of Task2 varies among NK-cell subsets and depends on their differentiation and activation state. Despite its different expression in TASK2(high) CD56(bright) CD16(-) and TASK2(low) CD56(dim) CD16(+) NK cells, TASK2 is involved in cytokine-induced proliferation and cytolytic function of both subsets. TASK2 is crucial for leukocyte functional antigen (LFA-1) mediated adhesion of both resting and cytokine-activated NK cells to target cells, an early step in killing of target cells. With regard to the following mechanism, TASK2 plays a role in release of cytotoxic granules by resting, but not IL-15-induced NK cells. Taken together, our data exhibit two-pore potassium channels as important players in NK-cell activation and effector function.

Recovery of Thalamic Microstructural Damage After Shiga Toxin 2-associated Hemolytic-uremic Syndrome

Journal of the Neurological Sciences. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26189050

The underlying pathophysiology of neurological complications in patients with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS) remains unclear. It was recently attributed to a direct cytotoxic effect of Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2) in the thalamus. Conventional MRI of patients with Stx2-caused HUS revealed - despite severe neurological symptoms - only mild alterations if any, mostly in the thalamus. Against this background, we questioned: Does diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) capture the thalamic damage better than conventional MRI? Are neurological symptoms and disease course better reflected by thalamic alterations as detected by DTI? Are other brain regions also affected?

Interferon-Beta Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis Patients Improves the Responsiveness of T Cells for Immune Suppression by Regulatory T Cells

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26193267

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory autoimmune disease characterized by imbalanced immune regulatory networks, and MS patient-derived T effector cells are inefficiently suppressed through regulatory T cells (Treg), a phenomenon known as Treg resistance. In the current study we investigated T cell function in MS patients before and after interferon-beta therapy. We compared cytokine profile, responsiveness for Treg-mediated suppression ex vivo and evaluated reactivity of T cells in vivo using a humanized mouse model. We found that CD4+ and CD8+ T cells of therapy-naive MS patients were resistant to Treg-mediated suppression. Treg resistance is associated with an augmented IL-6 production, enhanced IL-6 receptor expression, and increased PKB/c-Akt phosphorylation. These parameters as well as responsiveness of T cells to Treg-mediated suppression were restored after interferon-beta therapy of MS patients. Following transfer into immunodeficient mice, MS T cells induced a lethal graft versus host disease (GvHD) and in contrast to T cells of healthy volunteers, this aggressive T cell response could not be controlled by Treg, but was abolished by anti-IL-6 receptor antibodies. However, magnitude and lethality of GvHD induced by MS T cells was significantly decreased after interferon-beta therapy and the reaction was prevented by Treg activation in vivo. Our data reveals that interferon-beta therapy improves the immunoregulation of autoaggressive T effector cells in MS patients by changing the IL-6 signal transduction pathway, thus restoring their sensitivity to Treg-mediated suppression.

Alemtuzumab in Multiple Sclerosis: Mechanism of Action and Beyond

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26204829

Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD52 (cluster of differentiation 52) and is approved for the therapy of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The application of alemtuzumab leads to a rapid, but long-lasting depletion predominantly of CD52-bearing B and T cells with reprogramming effects on immune cell composition resulting in the restoration of tolerogenic networks. Alemtuzumab has proven high efficacy in clinical phase II and III trials, where interferon β-1a was used as active comparator. However, alemtuzumab is associated with frequent and considerable risks. Most importantly secondary autoimmune disease affects 30%-40% of patients, predominantly impairing thyroid function. Extensive monitoring and early intervention allow for an appropriate risk management. However, new and reliable biomarkers for individual risk stratification and treatment response to improve patient selection and therapy guidance are a significant unmet need. Only a deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms of action (MOA) will reveal such markers, maximizing the best potential risk-benefit ratio for the individual patient. This review provides and analyses the current knowledge on the MOA of alemtuzumab. Most recent data on efficacy and safety of alemtuzumab are presented and future research opportunities are discussed.

Murine K2P5.1 Deficiency Has No Impact on Autoimmune Neuroinflammation Due to Compensatory K2P3.1- and KV1.3-Dependent Mechanisms

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26213925

Lymphocytes express potassium channels that regulate physiological cell functions, such as activation, proliferation and migration. Expression levels of K2P5.1 (TASK2; KCNK5) channels belonging to the family of two-pore domain potassium channels have previously been correlated to the activity of autoreactive T lymphocytes in patients with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. In humans, K2P5.1 channels are upregulated upon T cell stimulation and influence T cell effector functions. However, a further clinical translation of targeting K2P5.1 is currently hampered by a lack of highly selective inhibitors, making it necessary to evaluate the impact of KCNK5 in established preclinical animal disease models. We here demonstrate that K2P5.1 knockout (K2P5.1-/-) mice display no significant alterations concerning T cell cytokine production, proliferation rates, surface marker molecules or signaling pathways. In an experimental model of autoimmune neuroinflammation, K2P5.1-/- mice show a comparable disease course to wild-type animals and no major changes in the peripheral immune system or CNS compartment. A compensatory upregulation of the potassium channels K2P3.1 and KV1.3 seems to counterbalance the deletion of K2P5.1. As an alternative model mimicking autoimmune neuroinflammation, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in the common marmoset has been proposed, especially for testing the efficacy of new potential drugs. Initial experiments show that K2P5.1 is functionally expressed on marmoset T lymphocytes, opening up the possibility for assessing future K2P5.1-targeting drugs.

Trafficking of Lymphocytes into the CNS

Oncotarget. Jul, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26255669

Treating a GAD65 Antibody-Associated Limbic Encephalitis with Basiliximab: A Case Study

Frontiers in Neurology. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26284025

Antibodies (ABs) against the 65-kDa isoform of the intracellular enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD65) have been found in limbic encephalitis (LE) and other neurological conditions. The direct significance of anti-GAD65-ABs for epilepsy is unclear. However, in histological preparations from biopsies of resective epilepsy surgeries, predominantly cytotoxic T-lymphocytes were detected making close contacts to neurons. Activated T-lymphocytes can, in turn, be selectively controlled by therapeutic interleukin-2 receptor Abs, such as basiliximab.

Optimizing Therapy Early in Multiple Sclerosis: An Evidence-based View

Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26346796

Therapies that target the underlying pathology of multiple sclerosis (MS), including focal and diffuse damage, may improve long-term disease control. Focal damage (inflammatory lesions) manifests clinically mainly as relapses, whereas diffuse damage (neurodegeneration and brain volume loss) has been more closely associated with disability progression and cognitive decline. Given that first-line therapies such as beta-interferon and glatiramer acetate, which are primarily directed against inflammation, might fail to adequately control disease activity in some patients, it has been recommended to switch these patients early to a therapy of higher efficacy, possibly targeting both components of MS pathology more rigorously. This review provides an overview of the efficacy of EU-approved disease-modifying therapies on conventional MS outcome measures (relapses, disability progression and paraclinical magnetic resonance imaging endpoints) in addition to brain volume loss, a measure of diffuse damage in the brain. In addition, the evidence supporting early treatment optimization in patients with high disease activity despite first-line therapy will be reviewed and an algorithm for optimal disease control will be presented.

B7-H1 Selectively Controls TH17 Differentiation and Central Nervous System Autoimmunity Via a Novel Non-PD-1-Mediated Pathway

Journal of Immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26378076

It is currently acknowledged that TH17 cells are critically involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). In this article, we demonstrate that signals delivered by the coinhibitory molecule B7-homologue 1 (B7-H1) via a B7-homologue 1 mouse-IgG2aFc (B7-H1-Ig) fusion protein nearly abolish TH17, but not TH1 and TH2, differentiation via direct interaction with the T cell. These effects were equally pronounced in the absence of programmed death-1 or B7.1 and B7.2 on the T cell side, thus providing clear evidence that B7-H1 modulates T cell differentiation via a novel receptor. Mechanistically, B7-H1 interfered with early TCR-mediated signaling and cytokine-mediated induction of the TH17-determining transcription factors retinoic acid-related orphan receptor γ t and IFN regulator factor-4 in a programmed death-1 and B7-independent fashion. In an animal model of MS, active myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, B7-H1-Ig exhibited a significant and long-lasting effect on disease severity upon administration during the first 5 d of the priming phase, which was accompanied by reduced TH17 responses in the periphery and within the CNS. Importantly, B7-H1-Ig was even capable of interfering with T cell encephalitogenicity when interaction with the T cells occurred after priming using an adoptive transfer experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model. In line with this, both naive human CD4(+) T cells and differentiated TH17 effector cells from MS patients were highly sensitive toward B7-H1-Ig-mediated TH17 suppression. Together, we propose the existence of a novel B7-H1-mediated immune-regulatory pathway in T cells, which selectively limits murine and human TH17 cell responses and might be therapeutically exploited to control TH17-mediated autoimmunity.

Neurocognitive Decline in HIV Patients is Associated with Ongoing T-cell Activation in the Cerebrospinal Fluid

Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26401512

HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain a challenge despite combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). Immune cell activation has been implicated to play a major role in the development of HAND.

Early and Degressive Putamen Atrophy in Multiple Sclerosis

International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26404239

Putamen atrophy and its long-term progress during disease course were recently shown in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Here we investigated retrospectively the time point of atrophy onset in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). 68 patients with RRMS and 26 healthy controls (HC) were admitted to 3T MRI in a cross-sectional study. We quantitatively analyzed the putamen volume of individual patients in relation to disease duration by correcting for age and intracranial volume (ICV). Patient's relative putamen volume (RPV), expressed in percent of ICV, was significantly reduced compared to HC. Based on the correlation between RPV and age, we computed the age-corrected RPV deviation (ΔRPV) from HC. Patients showed significantly negative ΔRPV. Interestingly, the age-corrected ΔRPV depended logarithmically on disease duration: Directly after first symptom manifestation, patients already showed a reduced RPV followed by a further degressive volumetric decline. This means that atrophy progression was stronger in the first than in later years of disease. Putamen atrophy starts directly after initial symptom manifestation or even years before, and progresses in a degressive manner. Due to its important role in neurological functions, early detection of putamen atrophy seems necessary. High-resolution structural MRI allows monitoring of disease course.

Daclizumab HYP Versus Interferon Beta-1a in Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis

The New England Journal of Medicine. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26444729

Daclizumab high-yield process (HYP) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to CD25 (alpha subunit of the interleukin-2 receptor) and modulates interleukin-2 signaling. Abnormalities in interleukin-2 signaling have been implicated in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders.

Successful Replication of GWAS Hits for Multiple Sclerosis in 10,000 Germans Using the Exome Array

Genetic Epidemiology. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26497834

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) successfully identified various chromosomal regions to be associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). The primary aim of this study was to replicate reported associations from GWAS using an exome array in a large German study. German MS cases (n = 4,476) and German controls (n = 5,714) were genotyped using the Illumina HumanExome v1-Chip. Genotype calling was performed with the Illumina Genome Studio(TM) Genotyping Module, followed by zCall. Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in seven regions outside the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region showed genome-wide significant associations with MS (P values < 5 × 10(-8) ). These associations have been reported previously. In addition, SNPs in three previously reported regions outside the HLA region yielded P values < 10(-5) . The effect of nine SNPs in the HLA region remained (P < 10(-5) ) after adjustment for other significant SNPs in the HLA region. All of these findings have been reported before or are driven by known risk loci. In summary, findings from previous GWAS for MS could be successfully replicated. We conclude that the regions identified in previous GWAS are also associated in the German population. This reassures the need for detailed investigations of the functional mechanisms underlying the replicated associations.

Case Report of Bilateral Relapsing-remitting Sciatic Nerve Palsy During Two Pregnancies

BMC Research Notes. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26545719

Unlike puerperal peripheral nerve lesions, mononeuropathy during pregnancy is rarely encountered. We report a case of bilateral relapsing-remitting sciatic nerve palsy during two pregnancies. An extensive literature search in PubMed brought no similar cases.

The NKG2D-IL-15 Signaling Pathway Contributes to T-cell Mediated Pathology in Inflammatory Myopathies

Oncotarget. Dec, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26646698

NKG2D is an activating receptor on T cells, which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. T cells are critically involved in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) and have been proposed as specific therapeutic targets. However, the mechanisms underlying T cell-mediated progressive muscle destruction in IIM remain to be elucidated. We here determined the involvement of the NKG2D - IL-15 signaling pathway. Primary human myoblasts expressed NKG2D ligands, which were further upregulated upon inflammatory stimuli. In parallel, shedding of the soluble NKG2D ligand MICA (sMICA) decreased upon inflammation potentially diminishing inhibition of NKG2D signaling. Membrane-related expression of IL-15 by myoblasts induced differentiation of naïve CD8+ T cells into highly activated, cytotoxic CD8+NKG2Dhigh T cells demonstrating NKG2D-dependent lysis of myoblasts in vitro. CD8+NKG2Dhigh T cell frequencies were increased in the peripheral blood of polymyositis (PM) patients and correlated with serum creatinine kinase concentrations, while serum sMICA levels were not significantly changed. In muscle biopsy specimens from PM patients expression of the NKG2D ligand MICA/B was upregulated, IL-15 was expressed by muscle cells, CD68+ macrophages as well as CD4+ T cells, and CD8+NKG2D+ cells were frequently detected within inflammatory infiltrates arguing for a local signaling circuit in the inflammatory muscle milieu. In conclusion, the NKG2D - IL-15 signaling pathway contributes to progressive muscle destruction in IIM potentially opening new therapeutic avenues.

Impaired Autonomic Responses to Emotional Stimuli in Autoimmune Limbic Encephalitis

Frontiers in Neurology. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26648907

Limbic encephalitis (LE) is an autoimmune-mediated disorder that affects structures of the limbic system, in particular, the amygdala. The amygdala constitutes a brain area substantial for processing of emotional, especially fear-related signals. The amygdala is also involved in neuroendocrine and autonomic functions, including skin conductance responses (SCRs) to emotionally arousing stimuli. This study investigates behavioral and autonomic responses to discrete emotion evoking and neutral film clips in a patient suffering from LE associated with contactin-associated protein-2 (CASPR2) antibodies as compared to a healthy control group. Results show a lack of SCRs in the patient while watching the film clips, with significant differences compared to healthy controls in the case of fear-inducing videos. There was no comparable impairment in behavioral data (emotion report, valence, and arousal ratings). The results point to a defective modulation of sympathetic responses during emotional stimulation in patients with LE, probably due to impaired functioning of the amygdala.

Evidence for Early, Non-lesional Cerebellar Damage in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: DTI Measures Correlate with Disability, Atrophy, and Disease Duration

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 25921041

Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) such as gait ataxia, poor coordination of the hands, and intention tremor are usually the result of dysfunctionality in the cerebellum. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has frequently failed to detect cerebellar damage in the form of inflammatory lesions in patients presenting with symptoms of cerebellar dysfunction.

A Novel Automated Segmentation Method for Retinal Layers in OCT Images Proves Retinal Degeneration After Optic Neuritis

The British Journal of Ophthalmology. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26307452

The evaluation of inner retinal layer thickness can serve as a direct biomarker for monitoring the course of inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Using optical coherence tomography (OCT), thinning of the retinal nerve fibre layer and changes in deeper retinal layers have been observed in patients with MS. Here, we first compare a novel method for automated segmentation of OCT images with manual segmentation using two cohorts of patients with MS. Using this method, we also aimed to reproduce previous findings showing retinal degeneration following optic neuritis (ON) in MS.

PML Risk Stratification Using Anti-JCV Antibody Index and L-selectin

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Jul, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26432858

Natalizumab treatment is associated with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) development. Treatment duration, prior immunosuppressant use, and JCV serostatus are currently used for risk stratification, but PML incidence stays high. Anti-JCV antibody index and L-selectin (CD62L) have been proposed as additional risk stratification parameters.

Implications of Dietary Salt Intake for Multiple Sclerosis Pathogenesis

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26447064

In recent years it has become increasingly clear that, alongside genetic risk factors, environmental factors strongly influence the incidence and severity of multiple sclerosis (MS). Based on observations from epidemiological studies, the potential contribution of dietary habits has lately been a matter of debate. Recently it was shown that high salt conditions promote pathogenic T-cell responses and aggravate autoimmunity in an animal model of MS, suggesting that high dietary salt intake might promote central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity. However, so far, not much is known about the influence of dietary salt intake on MS disease pathology. Here, we discuss the association of dietary salt levels and MS with a special focus on the mechanisms of salt-mediated modulation of the different cell types critically involved in the pathophysiology of MS.

Dementia Apraxia Test (DATE): A Brief Tool to Differentiate Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia from Alzheimer's Dementia Based on Apraxia Profiles

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease : JAD. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26484911

Standardized praxis assessments with modern, empirically validated screening tests have substantially improved clinical evaluation of apraxia in patients with stroke. Although apraxia may contribute to early differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), no comparable test is readily available to clinicians for this purpose to date.

Neuroimmunotherapies Targeting T Cells: From Pathophysiology to Therapeutic Applications

Neurotherapeutics : the Journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26563391

Therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis (MS) have significantly increased over the last few years. T lymphocytes are considered to play a central role in initiating and perpetuating the pathological immune response. Currently approved therapies for MS target T lymphocytes, either in an unspecific manner or directly by interference with specific T-cell pathways. While the concept of "T-cell-specific therapy" implies specificity and selectivity, currently approved approaches come from a general shaping of the immune system towards anti-inflammatory immune responses by non-T-cell-selective immune suppression or immune modulation (e.g., interferons-immune modulation approach) to a depletion of immune cell populations involving T cells (e.g., anti-CD52, alemtuzumab-immune selective depletion approach), or a selective inhibition of distinct molecular pathways in order to sequester leucocytes (e.g., natalizumab-leukocyte sequestration approach). This review will highlight the rationale and results of different T-cell-directed therapeutic approaches coming from basic animal experiments to clinical trials. We will first discuss the pathophysiological rationale for targeting T lymphocytes in MS leading to currently approved treatments acting on T lymphocytes. Furthermore, we will disuss previous promising concepts that have failed to show efficacy in clinical trials or were halted as a result of unexpected adverse events. Learning from the discrepancies between expectations and failures in practical outcomes helps to optimize future research approaches and clinical study designs. As our current view of MS pathogenesis and patient needs is rapidly evolving, novel therapeutic approaches targeting T lymphocytes will also be discussed, including specific molecular interventions such as cytokine-directed treatments or strategies enhancing immunoregulatory mechanisms. Based on clinical experience and novel pathophysiological approaches, T-cell-based strategies will remain a pillarstone of MS therapy.

CD4+ T Effector Memory Cell Dysfunction is Associated with the Accumulation of Granulocytic Myeloid-derived Suppressor Cells in Glioblastoma Patients

Neuro-oncology. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26578623

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) comprise a heterogeneous population of myeloid cells that are significantly expanded in cancer patients and are associated with tumor progression.

Sodium Chloride Promotes Pro-inflammatory Macrophage Polarization Thereby Aggravating CNS Autoimmunity

Journal of Autoimmunity. Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26584738

The increasing incidence in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) during the last decades in industrialized countries might be linked to a change in dietary habits. Nowadays, enhanced salt content is an important characteristic of Western diet and increased dietary salt (NaCl) intake promotes pathogenic T cell responses contributing to central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity. Given the importance of macrophage responses for CNS disease propagation, we addressed the influence of salt consumption on macrophage responses in CNS autoimmunity. We observed that EAE-diseased mice receiving a NaCl-high diet showed strongly enhanced macrophage infiltration and activation within the CNS accompanied by disease aggravation during the effector phase of EAE. NaCl treatment of macrophages elicited a strong pro-inflammatory phenotype characterized by enhanced pro-inflammatory cytokine production, increased expression of immune-stimulatory molecules, and an antigen-independent boost of T cell proliferation. This NaCl-induced pro-inflammatory macrophage phenotype was accompanied by increased activation of NF-kB and MAPK signaling pathways. The pathogenic relevance of NaCl-conditioned macrophages is illustrated by the finding that transfer into EAE-diseased animals resulted in significant disease aggravation compared to untreated macrophages. Importantly, also in human monocytes, NaCl promoted a pro-inflammatory phenotype that enhanced human T cell proliferation. Taken together, high dietary salt intake promotes pro-inflammatory macrophages that aggravate CNS autoimmunity. Together with other studies, these results underline the need to further determine the relevance of increased dietary salt intake for MS disease severity.

Highlights from the 31st ECTRIMS Congress - Barcelona 2015

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26684283

Dimethyl Fumarate Treatment Alters Circulating T Helper Cell Subsets in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26767188

To evaluate the effect of dimethyl fumarate (DMF; Tecfidera, Biogen, Weston, MA) on CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell subsets in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Epoch Analysis of On-Treatment Disability Progression Events over Time in the Tysabri Observational Program (TOP)

PloS One. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26771747

To evaluate the effect of natalizumab on disability progression beyond 2 years of treatment in clinical practice.

CD4(+)HLA-G(+) Regulatory T Cells: Molecular Signature and Pathophysiological Relevance

Human Immunology. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26826445

The regulation of potentially harmful immune responses by regulatory T (Treg) cells is essential for maintaining peripheral immune tolerance and homeostasis. Especially CD4(+) Treg cells have been regarded as pivotal regulators of autoreactive and inflammatory responses as well as inducers of immune tolerance by using a variety of immune suppressive mechanisms. Besides the well-known classical CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) Treg cells, CD4(+) T cells expressing the immune tolerizing molecule human leukocyte antigen G (HLA-G) have been recently described as another potent thymus-derived Treg (tTreg) cell subset. Albeit both tTreg subsets share common molecular characteristics, the mechanisms of their immunosuppressive function differ fundamentally. Dysfunction and numerical abnormalities of classical CD4(+) tTreg cells have been implicated in the pathogenesis of several immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Clearly, a deeper understanding of the various CD4(+) tTreg subsets and also the underlying mechanisms of impaired immune tolerance in these disorders are essential for the development of potential therapeutic strategies. This review focuses on the current knowledge on defining features and functioning of HLA-G(+)CD4(+) tTreg cells as well as their emerging role in various pathologies with special emphasis on the pathogenesis of MS. Furthermore, future research possibilities together with potential therapeutic applications are discussed.

Therapy with Natalizumab is Associated with High JCV Seroconversion and Rising JCV Index Values

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Feb, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26848486

The aim of the study was to analyze John Cunningham virus (JCV) serology in natalizumab-treated patients over time and assess whether they are influenced by natalizumab treatment.

Clinical Features, Pathogenesis, and Treatment of Myasthenia Gravis: a Supplement to the Guidelines of the German Neurological Society

Journal of Neurology. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26886206

Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune antibody-mediated disorder of neuromuscular synaptic transmission. The clinical hallmark of MG consists of fluctuating fatigability and weakness affecting ocular, bulbar and (proximal) limb skeletal muscle groups. MG may either occur as an autoimmune disease with distinct immunogenetic characteristics or as a paraneoplastic syndrome associated with tumors of the thymus. Impairment of central thymic and peripheral self-tolerance mechanisms in both cases is thought to favor an autoimmune CD4(+) T cell-mediated B cell activation and synthesis of pathogenic high-affinity autoantibodies of either the IgG1 and 3 or IgG4 subclass. These autoantibodies bind to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AchR) itself, or muscle-specific tyrosine-kinase (MuSK), lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (LRP4) and agrin involved in clustering of AchRs within the postsynaptic membrane and structural maintenance of the neuromuscular synapse. This results in disturbance of neuromuscular transmission and thus clinical manifestation of the disease. Emphasizing evidence from clinical trials, we provide an updated overview on immunopathogenesis, and derived current and future treatment strategies for MG divided into: (a) symptomatic treatments facilitating neuromuscular transmission, (b) antibody-depleting treatments, and

Early Silent Microstructural Degeneration and Atrophy of the Thalamocortical Network in Multiple Sclerosis

Human Brain Mapping. May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26920497

Recent studies on patients with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) and multiple sclerosis (MS) demonstrated thalamic atrophy. Here we addressed the following question: Is early thalamic atrophy in patients with CIS and relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) mainly a direct consequence of white matter (WM) lesions-as frequently claimed-or is the atrophy stronger correlated to "silent" (nonlesional) microstructural thalamic alterations? One-hundred and ten patients with RRMS, 12 with CIS, and 30 healthy controls were admitted to 3 T magnetic resonance imaging. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was computed from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to assess thalamic and WM microstructure. The relative thalamic volume (RTV) and thalamic FA were significantly reduced in patients with CIS and RRMS relative to healthy controls. Both measures were also correlated. The age, gender, WM lesion load, thalamic FA, and gray matter volume-corrected RTV were reduced even in the absence of thalamic and extensive white matter lesions-also in patients with short disease duration (≤24 months). A voxel-based correlation analysis revealed that the RTV reduction had a significant effect on local WM FA-in areas next to the thalamus and basal ganglia. These WM alterations could not be explained by WM lesions, which had a differing spatial distribution. Early thalamic atrophy is mainly driven by silent microstructural thalamic alterations. Lesions do not disclose the early damage of thalamocortical circuits, which seem to be much more affected in CIS and RRMS than expected. Thalamocortical damage can be detected by DTI in normal appearing brain tissue. Hum Brain Mapp 37:1866-1879, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

ALAIN01--Alemtuzumab in Autoimmune Inflammatory Neurodegeneration: Mechanisms of Action and Neuroprotective Potential

BMC Neurology. Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26966029

Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada®) is a newly approved therapeutic agent for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). In previous phase II and III clinical trials, alemtuzumab has proven superior efficacy to subcutaneous interferon beta-1a concerning relapse rate and disability progression with unprecedented durability and long-lasting freedom of disease activity. The humanized monoclonal antibody targets CD52, leading to a rapid and long-lasting depletion, especially of B and T cells. Arising from hematopoietic precursor cells a fundamental reprogramming of the immune system restores tolerogenic networks effectively suppressing autoimmune inflammatory responses in the central nervous system (CNS). Despite its favourable effects alemtuzumab holds a severe risk of side effects with secondary autoimmunity being the most considerable. Markers for risk stratification and treatment response improving patient selection and therapy guidance are a big unmet need for MS patients and health care providers.

Guidelines on Dermatomyositis--excerpt from the Interdisciplinary S2k Guidelines on Myositis Syndromes by the German Society of Neurology

Journal Der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft = Journal of the German Society of Dermatology : JDDG. Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26972210

The present guidelines on dermatomyositis (DM) represent an excerpt from the interdisciplinary S2k guidelines on myositis syndromes of the German Society of Neurology (available at The cardinal symptom of myositis in DM is symmetrical proximal muscle weakness. Elevated creatine kinase, CRP or ESR as well as electromyography and muscle biopsy also provide important diagnostic clues. Pharyngeal, respiratory, cardiac, and neck muscles may also be affected. Given that approximately 30% of patients also develop interstitial lung disease, pulmonary function tests should be part of the diagnostic workup. Although the cutaneous manifestations in DM are variable, taken together, they represent a characteristic and crucial diagnostic criterion for DM. Approximately 5-20% of individuals exhibit typical skin lesions without any clinically manifest muscle involvement (amyopathic DM). About 30% of adult DM cases are associated with a malignancy. This fact, however, should not delay the treatment of severe myositis. Corticosteroids are the therapy of choice in myositis (1-2 mg/kg). Additional immunosuppressive therapy is frequently required (azathioprine, for children methotrexate). In case of insufficient therapeutic response, the use of intravenous immunoglobulins is justified. The benefit of rituximab has not been conclusively ascertained yet. Acute therapeutic management is usually followed by low-dose maintenance therapy for one to three years. Skin lesions do not always respond sufficiently to myositis therapy. Effective treatment for such cases consists of topical corticosteroids and sometimes also calcineurin inhibitors. Systemic therapies shown to be effective include antimalarial agents (also in combination), methotrexate, and corticosteroids. Intravenous immunoglobulins or rituximab may also be helpful. UV protection is an important prophylactic measure.

Immunoadsorption Therapy in Autoimmune Encephalitides

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26977423

It was hypothesized that in encephalitides with autoantibodies directed to CNS surface antigens an antibody-removing intervention might speed up recovery.

Simultaneous Early-onset Immune Thrombocytopenia and Autoimmune Thyroid Disease Following Alemtuzumab Treatment in Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26980848

We report two cases of patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis with early-onset thrombocytopenia and autoimmune thyroid disease after the first treatment course with 60-mg alemtuzumab.

CD8(+) T-cell Pathogenicity in Rasmussen Encephalitis Elucidated by Large-scale T-cell Receptor Sequencing

Nature Communications. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27040081

Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) is a rare paediatric epilepsy with uni-hemispheric inflammation and progressive neurological deficits. To elucidate RE immunopathology, we applied T-cell receptor (TCR) sequencing to blood (n=23), cerebrospinal fluid (n=2) and brain biopsies (n=5) of RE patients, and paediatric controls. RE patients present with peripheral CD8(+) T-cell expansion and its strength correlates with disease severity. In addition, RE is the only paediatric epilepsy with prominent T-cell expansions in the CNS. Consistently, common clones are shared between RE patients, who also share MHC-I alleles. Public RE clones share Vβ genes and length of the CDR3. Rituximab/natalizumab/basiliximab treatment does not change TCR diversity, stem cell transplantation replaces the TCR repertoire with minimal overlap between donor and recipient, as observed in individual cases. Our study supports the hypothesis of an antigen-specific attack of peripherally expanded CD8(+) lymphocytes against CNS structures in RE, which might be ameliorated by restricting access to the CNS.

Failed, Interrupted and Inconclusive Trials on Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Treatment: Update 2010-2015

Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27058174

The treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) remains challenging despite the great efforts made in the development of novel therapies. Driven by the growing knowledge of the immunopathogenesis of the disease, a plethora of new pharmacological agents have been developed and tested in clinical trials. However, the therapeutic advantages and positive clinical trials of some of these agents are outweighed by studies of promising agents that either failed due to negative or inconclusive results or had to be withdrawn because of serious unexpected adverse events. Most failed clinical trials did not lack a well-considered pathophysiological rationale, but concepts from experimental models were proven wrong in humans. Lessons learned from these discrepancies help to optimize future study design and, potentially more importantly, provide further insight into the immunopathogenesis of MS. Here, we summarize trials on MS treatments since 2010 that failed or were interrupted, identifying potential underlying reasons for failure or inconclusiveness.

Comparative Efficacy of First-line Natalizumab Vs IFN-β or Glatiramer Acetate in Relapsing MS

Neurology. Clinical Practice. Apr, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27104064

We compared efficacy and treatment persistence in treatment-naive patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) initiating natalizumab compared with interferon-β (IFN-β)/glatiramer acetate (GA) therapies, using propensity score-matched cohorts from observational multiple sclerosis registries.

Impaired NK-mediated Regulation of T-cell Activity in Multiple Sclerosis is Reconstituted by IL-2 Receptor Modulation

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27162345

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) resulting from a breakdown in peripheral immune tolerance. Although a beneficial role of natural killer (NK)-cell immune-regulatory function has been proposed, it still needs to be elucidated whether NK cells are functionally impaired as part of the disease. We observed NK cells in active MS lesions in close proximity to T cells. In accordance with a higher migratory capacity across the blood-brain barrier, CD56(bright) NK cells represent the major intrathecal NK-cell subset in both MS patients and healthy individuals. Investigating the peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients treated with natalizumab revealed that transmigration of this subset depends on the α4β1 integrin very late antigen (VLA)-4. Although no MS-related changes in the migratory capacity of NK cells were observed, NK cells derived from patients with MS exhibit a reduced cytolytic activity in response to antigen-activated CD4(+) T cells. Defective NK-mediated immune regulation in MS is mainly attributable to a CD4(+) T-cell evasion caused by an impaired DNAX accessory molecule (DNAM)-1/CD155 interaction. Both the expression of the activating NK-cell receptor DNAM-1, a genetic alteration consistently found in MS-association studies, and up-regulation of the receptor's ligand CD155 on CD4(+) T cells are reduced in MS. Therapeutic immune modulation of IL-2 receptor restores impaired immune regulation in MS by increasing the proportion of CD155-expressing CD4(+) T cells and the cytolytic activity of NK cells.

Blood Coagulation Factor XII Drives Adaptive Immunity During Neuroinflammation Via CD87-mediated Modulation of Dendritic Cells

Nature Communications. May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27188843

Aberrant immune responses represent the underlying cause of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Recent evidence implicated the crosstalk between coagulation and immunity in CNS autoimmunity. Here we identify coagulation factor XII (FXII), the initiator of the intrinsic coagulation cascade and the kallikrein-kinin system, as a specific immune cell modulator. High levels of FXII activity are present in the plasma of MS patients during relapse. Deficiency or pharmacologic blockade of FXII renders mice less susceptible to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (a model of MS) and is accompanied by reduced numbers of interleukin-17A-producing T cells. Immune activation by FXII is mediated by dendritic cells in a CD87-dependent manner and involves alterations in intracellular cyclic AMP formation. Our study demonstrates that a member of the plasmatic coagulation cascade is a key mediator of autoimmunity. FXII inhibition may provide a strategy to combat MS and other immune-related disorders.

Evidence of a Pathogenic Role for CD8(+) T Cells in Anti-GABAB Receptor Limbic Encephalitis

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27213174

To characterize the cellular autoimmune response in patients with γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)B receptor antibody-associated limbic encephalitis (GABAB-R LE).

The Farnesoid-X-receptor in Myeloid Cells Controls CNS Autoimmunity in an IL-10-dependent Fashion

Acta Neuropathologica. Sep, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27383204

Innate immune responses by myeloid cells decisively contribute to perpetuation of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity and their pharmacologic modulation represents a promising strategy to prevent disease progression in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Based on our observation that peripheral immune cells from relapsing-remitting and primary progressive MS patients exhibited strongly decreased levels of the bile acid receptor FXR (farnesoid-X-receptor, NR1H4), we evaluated its potential relevance as therapeutic target for control of established CNS autoimmunity. Pharmacological FXR activation promoted generation of anti-inflammatory macrophages characterized by arginase-1, increased IL-10 production, and suppression of T cell responses. In mice, FXR activation ameliorated CNS autoimmunity in an IL-10-dependent fashion and even suppressed advanced clinical disease upon therapeutic administration. In analogy to rodents, pharmacological FXR activation in human monocytes from healthy controls and MS patients induced an anti-inflammatory phenotype with suppressive properties including control of effector T cell proliferation. We therefore, propose an important role of FXR in control of T cell-mediated autoimmunity by promoting anti-inflammatory macrophage responses.

Novel Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility Loci Implicated in Epigenetic Regulation

Science Advances. Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27386562

We conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility in German cohorts with 4888 cases and 10,395 controls. In addition to associations within the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) region, 15 non-MHC loci reached genome-wide significance. Four of these loci are novel MS susceptibility loci. They map to the genes L3MBTL3, MAZ, ERG, and SHMT1. The lead variant at SHMT1 was replicated in an independent Sardinian cohort. Products of the genes L3MBTL3, MAZ, and ERG play important roles in immune cell regulation. SHMT1 encodes a serine hydroxymethyltransferase catalyzing the transfer of a carbon unit to the folate cycle. This reaction is required for regulation of methylation homeostasis, which is important for establishment and maintenance of epigenetic signatures. Our GWAS approach in a defined population with limited genetic substructure detected associations not found in larger, more heterogeneous cohorts, thus providing new clues regarding MS pathogenesis.

Distinct Pattern of Lesion Distribution in Multiple Sclerosis is Associated with Different Circulating T-helper and Helper-like Innate Lymphoid Cell Subsets

Multiple Sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England). Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27481205

Distinct lesion topography in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) might be due to different antigen presentation and/or trafficking routes of immune cells into the central nervous system (CNS).

The Potassium Channels TASK2 and TREK1 Regulate Functional Differentiation of Murine Skeletal Muscle Cells

American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27488672

Two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channels influence basic cellular parameters such as resting membrane potential, cellular excitability, or intracellular Ca(2+)-concentration [Ca(2+)]i While the physiological importance of K2P channels in different organ systems (e.g., heart, central nervous system, or immune system) has become increasingly clear over the last decade, their expression profile and functional role in skeletal muscle cells (SkMC) remain largely unknown. The mouse SkMC cell line C2C12, wild-type mouse muscle tissue, and primary mouse muscle cells (PMMs) were analyzed using quantitative PCR, Western blotting, and immunohistochemical stainings as well as functional analysis including patch-clamp measurements and Ca(2+) imaging. Mouse SkMC express TWIK-related acid-sensitive K(+) channel (TASK) 2, TWIK-related K(+) channel (TREK) 1, TREK2, and TWIK-related arachidonic acid stimulated K(+) channel (TRAAK). Except TASK2 all mentioned channels were upregulated in vitro during differentiation from myoblasts to myotubes. TASK2 and TREK1 were also functionally expressed and upregulated in PMMs isolated from mouse muscle tissue. Inhibition of TASK2 and TREK1 during differentiation revealed a morphological impairment of myoblast fusion accompanied by a downregulation of maturation markers. TASK2 and TREK1 blockade led to a decreased K(+) outward current and a decrease of ACh-dependent Ca(2+) influx in C2C12 cells as potential underlying mechanisms. K2P-channel expression was also detected in human muscle tissue by immunohistochemistry pointing towards possible relevance for human muscle cell maturation and function. In conclusion, our findings for the first time demonstrate the functional expression of TASK2 and TREK1 in muscle cells with implications for differentiation processes warranting further investigations in physiologic and pathophysiologic scenarios.

The Quality of Cortical Network Function Recovery Depends on Localization and Degree of Axonal Demyelination

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27569659

Myelin loss is a severe pathological hallmark common to a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Demyelination in the central nervous system appears in the form of lesions affecting both white and gray matter structures. The functional consequences of demyelination on neuronal network and brain function are not well understood. Current therapeutic strategies for ameliorating the course of such diseases usually focus on promoting remyelination, but the effectiveness of these approaches strongly depends on the timing in relation to the disease state. In this study, we sought to characterize the time course of sensory and behavioral alterations induced by de- and remyelination to establish a rational for the use of remyelination strategies. By taking advantage of animal models of general and focal demyelination, we tested the consequences of myelin loss on the functionality of the auditory thalamocortical system: a well-studied neuronal network consisting of both white and gray matter regions. We found that general demyelination was associated with a permanent loss of the tonotopic cortical organization in vivo, and the inability to induce tone-frequency-dependent conditioned behaviors, a status persisting after remyelination. Targeted, focal lysolecithin-induced lesions in the white matter fiber tract, but not in the gray matter regions of cortex, were fully reversible at the morphological, functional and behavioral level. These findings indicate that remyelination of white and gray matter lesions have a different functional regeneration potential, with the white matter being able to regain full functionality while cortical gray matter lesions suffer from permanently altered network function. Therefore therapeutic interventions aiming for remyelination have to consider both region- and time-dependent strategies.

CD62L is Not a Reliable Biomarker for Predicting PML Risk in Natalizumab-treated R-MS Patients

Neurology. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27572431

Shared Neural Correlates of Limb Apraxia in Early Stages of Alzheimer's Dementia and Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal Dementia

Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27639684

Limb apraxia denotes a cognitive impairment of gesture production. Lesion studies in patients with stroke point towards distinct neural processing streams for limb imitation and object-pantomime within left parietal and temporal cortex, respectively. Despite its frequent occurrence as an early symptom in both, Alzheimer's dementia (AD) and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), neural correlates of limb apraxia within these patient groups remain unexplored. Using voxel-based morphometry and multiple regression models, associations between limb apraxia and gray matter (GM) volume were investigated in 36 dementia patients (18 AD, 18 bvFTD) in early disease stages. Both dementia subtypes showed a comparable degree of limb apraxia. Although the patient groups showed distinct atrophy patterns with significantly more severe frontal GM loss in bvFTD, we found similar neural correlates of limb apraxia within posterior brain regions for both dementia subtypes: limb-imitation was associated with bilateral atrophy of superior, inferior and medial parietal cortex. Object-pantomime showed associations with GM volume in right middle temporal and angular gyrus. Our results argue for shared neural correlates of limb apraxia in AD and bvFTD and validate the syndrome as an important neuropsychological feature across different etiologies. Moreover, our results are compatible with neural models derived from patients with stroke, suggesting partly distinct neural representations of imitation and pantomime. Compared to patients with stroke however, AD and bvFTD showed more bilateral or even right lateralized neural representations of limb apraxia, proposing a greater influence of visuospatial impairments and spatial body representation deficits on praxis performance.

B7-H1 Shapes T-cell-mediated Brain Endothelial Cell Dysfunction and Regional Encephalitogenicity in Spontaneous CNS Autoimmunity

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27671636

Molecular mechanisms that determine lesion localization or phenotype variation in multiple sclerosis are mostly unidentified. Although transmigration of activated encephalitogenic T cells across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a crucial step in the disease pathogenesis of CNS autoimmunity, the consequences on brain endothelial barrier integrity upon interaction with such T cells and subsequent lesion formation and distribution are largely unknown. We made use of a transgenic spontaneous mouse model of CNS autoimmunity characterized by inflammatory demyelinating lesions confined to optic nerves and spinal cord (OSE mice). Genetic ablation of a single immune-regulatory molecule in this model [i.e., B7-homolog 1 (B7-H1, PD-L1)] not only significantly increased incidence of spontaneous CNS autoimmunity and aggravated disease course, especially in the later stages of disease, but also importantly resulted in encephalitogenic T-cell infiltration and lesion formation in normally unaffected brain regions, such as the cerebrum and cerebellum. Interestingly, B7-H1 ablation on myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-specific CD4(+) T cells, but not on antigen-presenting cells, amplified T-cell effector functions, such as IFN-γ and granzyme B production. Therefore, these T cells were rendered more capable of eliciting cell contact-dependent brain endothelial cell dysfunction and increased barrier permeability in an in vitro model of the BBB. Our findings suggest that a single immune-regulatory molecule on T cells can be ultimately responsible for localized BBB breakdown, and thus substantial changes in lesion topography in the context of CNS autoimmunity.

Dichoptic Metacontrast Masking Functions to Infer Transmission Delay in Optic Neuritis

PloS One. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27711139

Optic neuritis (ON) has detrimental effects on the transmission of neuronal signals generated at the earliest stages of visual information processing. The amount, as well as the speed of transmitted visual signals is impaired. Measurements of visual evoked potentials (VEP) are often implemented in clinical routine. However, the specificity of VEPs is limited because multiple cortical areas are involved in the generation of P1 potentials, including feedback signals from higher cortical areas. Here, we show that dichoptic metacontrast masking can be used to estimate the temporal delay caused by ON. A group of 15 patients with unilateral ON, nine of which had sufficient visual acuity and volunteered to participate, and a group of healthy control subjects (N = 8) were presented with flashes of gray disks to one eye and flashes of gray annuli to the corresponding retinal location of the other eye. By asking subjects to report the subjective visibility of the target (i.e. the disk) while varying the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between disk and annulus, we obtained typical U-shaped masking functions. From these functions we inferred the critical SOAmax at which the mask (i.e. the annulus) optimally suppressed the visibility of the target. ON-associated transmission delay was estimated by comparing the SOAmax between conditions in which the disk had been presented to the affected and the mask to the other eye, and vice versa. SOAmax differed on average by 28 ms, suggesting a reduction in transmission speed in the affected eye. Compared to previously reported methods assessing perceptual consequences of altered neuronal transmission speed the presented method is more accurate as it is not limited by the observers' ability to judge subtle variations in perceived synchrony.

14-3-3 Proteins Regulate K2P 5.1 Surface Expression on T Lymphocytes

Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark). Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27743426

K2P 5.1 channels (also called TASK-2 or Kcnk5) have already been shown to be relevant in the pathophysiology of autoimmune disease because they are known to be upregulated on peripheral and central T lymphocytes of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Moreover, overexpression of K2P 5.1 channels in vitro provokes enhanced T-cell effector functions. However, the molecular mechanisms regulating intracellular K2P 5.1 channel trafficking are unknown so far. Thus, the aim of the study is to elucidate the trafficking of K2P 5.1 channels on T lymphocytes. Using mass spectrometry analysis, we have identified 14-3-3 proteins as novel binding partners of K2P 5.1 channels. We show that a non-classical 14-3-3 consensus motif (R-X-X-pT/S-x) at the channel's C-terminus allows the binding between K2P 5.1 and 14-3-3. The mutant K2P 5.1/S266A diminishes the protein-protein interaction and reduces the amplitude of membrane currents. Application of a non-peptidic 14-3-3 inhibitor (BV02) significantly reduces the number of wild-type channels in the plasma membrane, whereas the drug has no effect on the trafficking of the mutated channel. Furthermore, blocker application reduces T-cell effector functions. Taken together, we demonstrate that 14-3-3 interacts with K2P 5.1 and plays an important role in channel trafficking.

Alemtuzumab Treatment Alters Circulating Innate Immune Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27766281

To characterize changes in myeloid and lymphoid innate immune cells in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS) during a 6-month follow-up after alemtuzumab treatment.

Prothrombin and Factor X Are Elevated in Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Annals of Neurology. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27774643

Animal models have implicated an integral role for coagulation factors in neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) beyond their role in hemostasis. However, their relevance in humans requires further elucidation. This study aimed to determine whether levels of coagulation factors differ between patients with neuroimmunological disorders and respective controls. Individuals suffering from relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS had significantly higher prothrombin and factor X levels than healthy donors, whereas levels were unchanged in primary progressive MS and neuromyelitis optica patients. Our study demonstrates that coagulation factors may be key mediators in neuroinflammation and may therefore provide future targets for therapeutic strategies. Ann Neurol 2016.

Acute Cholecystitis During Treatment with Alemtuzumab in 3 Patients with RRMS

Neurology. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27794114

Melanocortin-1 Receptor Activation is Neuroprotective in Mouse Models of Neuroinflammatory Disease

Science Translational Medicine. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27797962

In inflammation-associated progressive neuroinflammatory disorders, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory infiltrates containing T helper 1 (TH1) and TH17 cells cause demyelination and neuronal degeneration. Regulatory T cells (Treg) control the activation and infiltration of autoreactive T cells into the central nervous system (CNS). In MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, Treg function is impaired. We show that a recently approved drug, Nle(4)-d-Phe(7)-α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (NDP-MSH), induced functional Treg, resulting in amelioration of EAE progression in mice. NDP-MSH also prevented immune cell infiltration into the CNS by restoring the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. NDP-MSH exerted long-lasting neuroprotective effects in mice with EAE and prevented excitotoxic death and reestablished action potential firing in mouse and human neurons in vitro. Neuroprotection by NDP-MSH was mediated via signaling through the melanocortin-1 and orphan nuclear 4 receptors in mouse and human neurons. NDP-MSH may be of benefit in treating neuroinflammatory diseases such as relapsing-remitting MS and related disorders.

CD62L Test at 2 Years of Natalizumab Predicts Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy

Neurology. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27815407

Imaging Matrix Metalloproteinase Activity in Multiple Sclerosis As a Specific Marker of Leukocyte Penetration of the Blood-brain Barrier

Science Translational Medicine. Nov, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27831901

The enzymes gelatinase A/matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and gelatinase B/MMP-9 are essential for induction of neuroinflammatory symptoms in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS); in the absence of these enzymes, the disease does not develop. We therefore investigated the cellular sources and relative contributions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 to disease at early stages of EAE induction. We demonstrated that MMP-9 from an immune cell source is required in EAE for initial infiltration of leukocytes into the central nervous system and that MMP-9 activity is a reliable marker of leukocyte penetration of the blood-brain barrier. We then developed a molecular imaging method to visualize MMP activity in the brain using fluorescent- and radioactive-labeled MMP inhibitors (MMPis) in EAE animals and used the radioactive MMP ligand for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of MMP activity in patients with MS. In contrast to traditional T1-gadolinium contrast-enhanced MRI, MMPi-PET enabled tracking of MMP activity as a unique feature of early lesions and ongoing leukocyte infiltration. MMPi-PET therefore allows monitoring of the early steps of MS development and provides a sensitive, noninvasive means of following lesion formation and resolution in murine EAE and human MS.

Computed Tomography-based Quantification of Lesion Water Uptake Identifies Patients Within 4.5 Hours of Stroke Onset: A Multicenter Observational Study

Annals of Neurology. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 28001316

Many patients with stroke cannot receive intravenous thrombolysis because the time of symptom onset is unknown. We tested whether computed tomography (CT)-based quantification of water uptake in the ischemic tissue can identify patients with stroke onset within 4.5 hours, the time window of thrombolysis.

Regulatory Functions of Natural Killer Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Frontiers in Immunology. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 28066417

There is increasing evidence that natural killer (NK) cells exhibit regulatory features. Among them, CD56(bright) NK cells have been suggested to play a major role in controlling T cell responses and maintaining homeostasis. Dysfunction in NK cell-mediated regulatory features has been recently described in untreated multiple sclerosis (MS), suggesting a contribution to MS pathogenesis. Moreover, biological disease-modifying treatments effective in MS apparently enhance the frequencies and/or regulatory function of NK cells, further pointing toward an immunoprotective role of NK cells in MS. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the regulatory functions of NK cells, based on their interactions with other cells belonging to the innate compartment, as well as with adaptive effector cells. We review the more recent data reporting disruption of NK cell/T cell interactions in MS and discuss how disease-modifying treatments for MS affect NK cells.

Diagnostic Criteria for Susac Syndrome

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 28103199

Susac syndrome is characterised by the triad of encephalopathy with or without focal neurological signs, branch retinal artery occlusions and hearing loss. Establishment of the diagnosis is often delayed because the triad is complete only in a minority of patients at disease onset. This leads to a critical delay in the initiation of appropriate treatment. Our objective was to establish criteria for diagnosis of either definite or probable Susac syndrome.

Neurochondrin is a Neuronal Target Antigen in Autoimmune Cerebellar Degeneration

Neurology(R) Neuroimmunology & Neuroinflammation. Jan, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27957508

To report on a novel neuronal target antigen in 3 patients with autoimmune cerebellar degeneration.

Reply to Liu Et Al.: Haplotype Matters: CD226 Polymorphism As a Potential Trigger for Impaired Immune Regulation in Multiple Sclerosis

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Feb, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28137888

Endothelial Basement Membrane Laminin 511 Contributes to Endothelial Junctional Tightness and Thereby Inhibits Leukocyte Transmigration

Cell Reports. Jan, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28147279

Endothelial basement membranes constitute barriers to extravasating leukocytes during inflammation, a process where laminin isoforms define sites of leukocyte exit; however, how this occurs is poorly understood. In addition to a direct effect on leukocyte transmigration, we show that laminin 511 affects endothelial barrier function by stabilizing VE-cadherin at junctions and downregulating expression of CD99L2, correlating with reduced neutrophil extravasation. Binding of endothelial cells to laminin 511, but not laminin 411 or non-endothelial laminin 111, enhanced transendothelial cell electrical resistance (TEER) and inhibited neutrophil transmigration. Data suggest that endothelial adhesion to laminin 511 via β1 and β3 integrins mediates RhoA-induced VE-cadherin localization to cell-cell borders, and while CD99L2 downregulation requires integrin β1, it is RhoA-independent. Our data demonstrate that molecular information provided by basement membrane laminin 511 affects leukocyte extravasation both directly and indirectly by modulating endothelial barrier properties.

Targeting Ewing Sarcoma with Activated and GD2-specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor-engineered Human NK Cells Induces Upregulation of Immune-inhibitory HLA-G

Oncoimmunology. 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28197367

Activated and in vitro expanded natural killer (NK) cells have substantial cytotoxicity against many tumor cells, but their in vivo efficacy to eliminate solid cancers is limited. Here, we used chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to enhance the activity of NK cells against Ewing sarcomas (EwS) in a tumor antigen-specific manner. Expression of CARs directed against the ganglioside antigen GD2 in activated NK cells increased their responses to GD2+ allogeneic EwS cells in vitro and overcame resistance of individual cell lines to NK cell lysis. Second-generation CARs with 4-1BB and 2B4 co-stimulatory signaling and third-generation CARs combining both co-stimulatory domains were all equally effective. By contrast, adoptive transfer of GD2-specific CAR gene-modified NK cells both by intratumoral and intraperitoneal delivery failed to eliminate GD2-expressing EwS xenografts. Histopathology review revealed upregulation of the immunosuppressive ligand HLA-G in tumor autopsies from mice treated with NK cells compared to untreated control mice. Supporting the relevance of this finding, in vitro co-incubation of NK cells with allogeneic EwS cells induced upregulation of the HLA-G receptor CD85j, and HLA-G1 expressed by EwS cells suppressed the activity of NK cells from three of five allogeneic donors against the tumor cells in vitro. We conclude that HLA-G is a candidate immune checkpoint in EwS where it can contribute to resistance to NK cell therapy. HLA-G deserves evaluation as a potential target for more effective immunotherapeutic combination regimens in this and other cancers.

Natalizumab-associated PML: Challenges with Incidence, Resulting Risk, and Risk Stratification

Neurology. Mar, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28228564

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) associated with natalizumab treatment continues to be a severe problem of clinically successful therapy. This is an update of risk stratification developments and discusses the current approach to depict and calculate PML incidence and PML risk. (1) PML incidence and resulting risk used in today's clinical practice are potentially outdated and the risk for patients with prior immunosuppression might have been underestimated. (2) Risk stratification according to treatment duration epochs likely suggests lower risk due to patients stopping treatment within a given epoch. PML incidence within the complete treatment epoch is statistically lowered due to the fact that patients at the beginning of an epoch presumably have a lower PML risk than the patients at the end. Periodic risk is not accurate in assessing risk for long treatment durations. (3) The JC virus (JCV) serostatus risk factor has low specificity concerning PML prediction and anti-JCV seroconversion during treatment with natalizumab further lowers its specificity over time. Specificity of the risk factor treatment duration varies depending on the average treatment duration and the number of short-term patients. These short-term patients reduce overall average treatment duration and thus enhance the specificity of the risk factor and reduce overall PML incidence. It is also suggested that short-term natalizumab patients are exclusively non-PML, even though they might still develop PML. Clinicians have to consider the cumulative risk of patients to stratify efficiently.

Animal Models in Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies: How to Overcome a Translational Roadblock?

Autoimmunity Reviews. Mar, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28286105

Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) encompass a heterogenic group of rare muscle diseases with common symptoms including muscle weakness and the presence of certain histological features. Since the pathogenesis remains unclear, therapeutic approaches in general comprise unspecific immunosuppression strategies that have been met with limited success. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms is critically required to assist in development of targeted therapies. Animal models have proven to be tremendously helpful in mechanistic studies and allow researchers to overcome the inevitable restrictions of human research. Although the number of different IIM models has drastically increased over the last few decades, a model that exhibits the phenotypical and histopathological hallmarks of IIM is still missing. Recent publications have shown promising results addressing different pathophysiological issues like mechanisms of onset, chronification or relapse in IIM. However, a standardization of the methodology is critically required in order to improve comparability and transferability among different groups. Here we provide an overview of the currently available IIM models including our own C-peptide based small-peptide model, critically discuss their advantages and disadvantages and give perspectives to their future use.

Targeting Different Monocyte/Macrophage Subsets Has No Impact on Outcome in Experimental Stroke

Stroke. Apr, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28292872

Peripheral immune cell infiltration contributes to neural injury after ischemic stroke. However, in contrast to lymphocytes and neutrophils, the role of different monocyte/macrophage subsets remains to be clarified. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of selective and unselective monocyte/macrophage depletion and proinflammatory (M1-) and anti-inflammatory (M2-) macrophage transfer on the outcome after experimental cerebral ischemia.

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