Intrathecal delivery of IFN-γ protects C57BL/6 mice from chronic-progressive experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by increasing apoptosis of central nervous system-infiltrating lymphocytes

R. Furlan, E. Brambilla, F. Ruffini, P. L. Poliani, A. Bergami, P. C. Marconi, D. M. Franciotta, G. Penna, G. Comi, L. Adorini, G. Martino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The exclusive detrimental role of proinflammatory cytokines in demyelinating diseases of the CNS, such as multiple sclerosis, is controversial. Here we show that the intrathecal delivery of an HSV-1-derived vector engineered with the mouse IFN-γ gene leads to persistent (up to 4 wk) CNS production of IFN-γ and inhibits the course of a chronic-progressive form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in C57BL/6 mice by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35-55. Mice treated with the IFN-γ-containing vector before EAE onset showed an earlier onset but a milder course of the disease compared with control mice treated with the empty vector. In addition, 83% of IFN-γ-treated mice completely recovered within 25 days post immunization, whereas control mice did not recover up to 60 days post immunization. Mice treated with the IFN-γ-containing vector within 1 wk after EAE onset partially recovered from the disease within 25 days after vector injection, whereas control mice worsened. Recovery from EAE in mice treated with IFN-γ was associated with a significant increase of CNS-infiltrating lymphocytes undergoing apoptosis. During the recovery phase, the mRNA level of TNFR1 was also significantly increased in CNS-infiltrating cells from IFN-γ-treated mice compared with controls. Our results further challenge the exclusive detrimental role of IFN-γ in the CNS during EAE/multiple sclerosis, and indicate that CNS-confined inflammation may induce protective immunological countermechanisms leading to a faster clearance of encephalitogenic T cells by apoptosis, thus restoring the immune privilege of the CNS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1821-1829
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Volume167
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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