Down-regulation of cell-surface CD4 co-receptor expression and modulation of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis

Patrizia Fiori, Giovanni Ristori, Antonella Cacciani, Carla Buttinelli, Marika Falcone, Simone Di Giovanni, Chiara Montesperelli, Carlo Pozzilli, Marco Salvetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pre-immunization with autoantigens confers resistance in experimental models of autoimmune diseases. Since non-self molecules can also be protective, it is conceivable that part of the effect rests on a non-specific attenuation of the immune response. This study is aimed at identifying mechanisms by which pre-immunization with a moiety suspended in incomplete Freund's adjuvant (IFA) protects from experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Lewis rats were immunized with each of either concanavalin A, lipopolysaccharide, bovine serum albumin, 70 or 65 kDa heat shock proteins, or myelin basic protein. All moieties were given in IFA 3 weeks prior to EAE induction. Serial cytofluorimetric monitoring of B cells and of the αβTCR+ CD4+, CD8+, CD45(high) and CD45(low) cells was performed. IFN-γ and IgG1 production was evaluated in parallel. All moieties were able to attenuate or abrogate the clinical signs of EAE. At day 4 and 10 after EAE induction, the surface expression of the CD4 molecule was down-regulated on T lymphocytes. This down-regulation was most evident in animals with the highest degree of clinical protection. By day 21 post-immunization, CD4 expression was restored. The same animals also showed an increase in the B cell percentage and T(h)2-related IgG1 production while IFN-γ secretion was reduced. Pre-immunization with diverse antigens suspended in IFA confers resistance to EAE induction. The down-regulation of the CD4 co-receptor accompanied by events suggestive of an immune deviation may be a general mechanism that contributes to the protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-545
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • CD4
  • Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis
  • Immunomodulation
  • Self/non-self antigens

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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