Primary proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β, play a crucial pathogenic role in multiple sclerosis and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and may represent, therefore, a suitable therapeutic target. We have previously established the delivery of anti-inflammatory cytokine genes within the central nervous system (CNS), based on intracisternal (i.c.) injection of non-replicative HSV-1-derived vectors. Here we show the therapeutic efficacy of i.c. administration of an HSV-1-derived vector carrying the interleukin-1receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) gene, the physiological antagonist of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1, in C57BL/6 mice affected by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-induced EAE. IL-1ra gene therapy is effective preventively, delaying EAE onset by almost 1 week (22.4±1.4 days post-immunization vs 15.9±2.1 days in control mice; P=0.0229 log-rank test), and decreasing disease severity. Amelioration of EAE course was associated with a reduced number of macrophages infiltrating the CNS and in a decreased level of proinflammatory cytokine mRNA in the CNS, suggesting an inhibitory activity of IL-1ra on effector cell recruitment, as antigen-specific peripheral T-cell activation and T-cell recruitment to the CNS is unaffected. Thus, local IL-1ra gene therapy may represent a therapeutic alternative for the inhibition of immune-mediated demyelination of the CNS.
- Herpes simplex
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