Counteracting roles of MHCI and CD8+ T cells in the peripheral and central nervous system of ALS SOD1G93A mice

Giovanni Nardo, Maria Chiara Trolese, Mattia Verderio, Alessandro Mariani, Massimiliano de Paola, Nilo Riva, Giorgia Dina, Nicolò Panini, Eugenio Erba, Angelo Quattrini, Caterina Bendotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The major histocompatibility complex I (MHCI) is a key molecule for the interaction of mononucleated cells with CD8+T lymphocytes. We previously showed that MHCI is upregulated in the spinal cord microglia and motor axons of transgenic SOD1G93A mice.

METHODS: To assess the role of MHCI in the disease, we examined transgenic SOD1G93A mice crossbred with β2 microglobulin-deficient mice, which express little if any MHCI on the cell surface and are defective for CD8+ T cells.

RESULTS: The lack of MHCI and CD8+ T cells in the sciatic nerve affects the motor axon stability, anticipating the muscle atrophy and the disease onset. In contrast, MHCI depletion in resident microglia and the lack of CD8+ T cell infiltration in the spinal cord protect the cervical motor neurons delaying the paralysis of forelimbs and prolonging the survival of SOD1G93A mice.

CONCLUSIONS: We provided straightforward evidence for a dual role of MHCI in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) compared to the CNS, pointing out regional and temporal differences in the clinical responses of ALS mice. These findings offer a possible explanation for the failure of systemic immunomodulatory treatments and suggest new potential strategies to prevent the progression of ALS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42
JournalMolecular Neurodegeneration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 9 2018


  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis/immunology
  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I/immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Peripheral Nervous System/immunology
  • Spinal Cord/immunology


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