T cell-mediated inflammation is considered to play a key role in the pathogenic mechanisms sustaining multiple sclerosis (MS). Caspase-1, formerly designated IL-1β-converting enzyme, is crucially involved in immune-mediated inflammation because of its pivotal role in regulating the cellular export of IL-1β and IL-18. We studied the role of caspase-1 in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model for MS. Caspase-1 is transcriptionally induced during EAE, and its levels correlate with the clinical course and transcription rate of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-1β, IFN-γ and IL-6. A reduction of EAE incidence and severity is observed in caspase-1-deficient mice, depending on the immunogenicity and on the amount of the encephalitogenic myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) peptide used. In caspase-1-deficient mice, reduced EAE incidence correlates with defective development of anti-MOG IFN-γ-producing Th1 cells. Finally, pharmacological blockade of caspase-1 in Biozzi AB/H mice, immunized with spinal cord homogenate or MOG35-55 peptide, by the caspase-1-inhibitor Z-Val-Ala-DL-Asp-fluoromethylketone, significantly reduces EAE incidence in a preventive but not in a therapeutic protocol. These results indicate that caspase-1 plays an important role in the early stage of the immune-mediated inflammatory process leading to EAE, thus representing a possible therapeutic target in the acute phase of relapsing remitting MS.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 1 1999|
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