Essential role of TGF-beta in the natural resistance to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in rats.Eur J Immunol. 2001 Apr; 31(4):1132-40.EJ
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease induced in susceptible rat strains by a single immunization with myelin basic protein (MBP). The Lewis (LEW) strain is susceptible to disease induction while the Brown Norway (BN) strain is resistant. This resistance involves non-MHC genes since congenic BN-1L rats, with LEW MHC on a BN-derived background, are also resistant. In the present study we show that, upon immunization with MBP, the non-MHC-encoded resistance to develop clinical EAE in BN-1L rats is associated with a decreased production of IFN-gamma. This may be due to a difference between LEW and BN-1L rats in their ability to produce regulatory cytokines such as IL-4, IL-10 and TGF-beta. In comparison to LEW rats, immune lymph node cells from BN-1L rats express an increased amount of IL-4 mRNA but produce less IL-10. Furthermore, the sera from BN-1L rats contain higher amounts of active TGF-beta1. Therefore, we have investigated the involvement of IL-4 and TGF-beta in the resistance of BN-1L rats to develop EAE using neutralizing mAb. Neutralization of TGF-beta, but not IL-4, renders BN-1L rats susceptible to clinical EAE without affecting the proliferation or the cytokine repertoire of immune lymph node cells. With respect to the origin of the endogenous TGF-beta production, we excluded the involvement of CD8 T cells and discuss a possible role of platelets and of CD4 T cells exhibiting the CD45RC(low) phenotype.