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Mechanisms of antigen-induced reversal of CNS inflammation in experimental demyelinating disease

Li, J;Lu, L;Binder, K;Xiong, J;Ye, L;Cheng, YH;Majri-Morrison, S;Lu, W;Lee, JW;Zhang, Z;Wu, YZ;Zheng, L;Lenardo, MJ;

Autoimmune central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating diseases are a major public health burden and poorly controlled by current immunosuppressants. More precise immunotherapies with higher efficacy and fewer side effects are sought. We investigated the effectiveness and mechanism of an injectable myelin-based antigenic polyprotein MMPt (myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, myelin basic protein and proteolipid protein, truncated). We find that it suppresses mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis without major side effects. MMPt induces rapid apoptosis of the encephalitogenic T cells and suppresses inflammation in the affected CNS. Intravital microscopy shows that MMPt is taken up by perivascular F4/80+ cells but not conventional antigen-presenting dendritic cells, B cells, or microglia. MMPt-stimulated F4/80+ cells induce reactive T cell immobilization and apoptosis in situ, resulting in reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells and chemokine production. Our study reveals alternative mechanisms that explain how cognate antigen suppresses CNS inflammation and may be applicable for effectively and safely treating demyelinating diseases.