Loss of blood-brain barrier integrity in the spinal cord is common to experimental allergic encephalomyelitis in knockout mouse models

Marzena J Fabis, Gwen S Scott, Rhonda B Kean, Hilary Koprowski, D Craig Hooper

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67 Citations (Scopus)


Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the CNS that is used to model certain parameters of multiple sclerosis. To establish the relative contributions of T cell reactivity, the loss of blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity, CNS inflammation, and lesion formation toward the pathogenesis of EAE, we assessed the incidence of EAE and these parameters in mice lacking NF-kappaB, TNF-alpha, IFN-alphabeta receptors, IFN-gamma receptors, and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Although increased myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-specific T cell reactivity was generally associated with a more rapid onset or increased disease severity, the loss of BBB integrity and cell accumulation in spinal cord tissues was invariably associated with the development of neurological disease signs. Histological and real-time RT-PCR analyses revealed differences in the nature of immune/inflammatory cell accumulation in the spinal cord tissues of the different mouse strains. On the other hand, disease severity during the acute phase of EAE directly correlated with the extent of BBB permeability. Thus, the loss of BBB integrity seems to be a requisite event in the development of EAE and can occur in the absence of important inflammatory mediators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5656-61
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


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