Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an autoimmune astrocytopathy caused by antibodies against the aquaporin 4(AQP4) in end-feet of astrocytes. Breakdown of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) allowing ingress of AQP4 antibodies into the central nervous system (CNS) plays a key role in NMOSD. Although IL-6 blockade therapies such as satralizumab are effective in NMOSD, the therapeutic mechanism of IL-6 blockade, especially with respect to BBB disruption, are not fully understood because of the lack of the human models that are specialized to evaluate the BBB function.
We constructed new in vitro human BBB models for evaluating continued barrier function, leukocyte transmigration and intracerebral transferability of IgGs utilizing the newly established triple co-culture system. In vitro and vivo experiments revealed that NMO-IgG increased intracerebral transferability of satralizumab, and that satralizumab suppressed the NMO-IgG-induced transmigration of T cells and barrier dysfunction. These results suggest that satralizumab, which can pass through the BBB in the presence of NMO-IgG, suppresses the barrier dysfunction and the disrupting controlled cellular infiltration at the BBB, leading to prevention of onset of NMOSD.
One sentence summary Satralizumab and IL-6 blockade prevent lymphocyte migration and barrier dysfunction induced by NMO-IgG in EAE and novel triple co-culture BBB models.