Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science
This study investigated the role of limitrin in the pathogenesis of demyelinating optic neuritis using an experimental autoimmune optic neuritis (EAON) model.EAON was induced in mice via subcutaneous injection with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide. Limitrin protein and mRNA expression were examined in the optic nerve before and after EAON induction. Proinflammatory cytokine expression profiles and degree of glial activation were compared between wild-type (WT) and limitrin knockout mice by real-time PCR and histologic analysis, respectively, after EAON induction. Plasma limitrin levels in patients with optic neuritis and healthy controls were measured by ELISA.Limitrin expression, observed in astrocytes in the optic nerve of WT mice, was lower in EAON-induced than in naïve WT mice. A comparative analysis of WT and limitrin knockout mice revealed that limitrin deficiency induced more severe neuroinflammation and glial hyperactivation in the optic nerve after EAON induction. Limitrin-deficient astrocytes were more chemotactically responsive to neuroinflammatory stimulation than WT astrocytes. Patients with optic neuritis demonstrated higher plasma limitrin levels than healthy controls (P = 0.0001), which was negatively correlated with visual acuity at the nadir of the optic neuritis attack (r = 0.46, P = 0.036).Limitrin deficiency induced severe neuroinflammation and reactive gliosis in the optic nerve after EAON induction. Our results imply that astrocyte-derived limitrin may protect against neuroinflammation by decreasing immune cell infiltration into the optic nerve. The plasma limitrin level may reflect the extent of blood-brain barrier disruption and provide a valuable biomarker reflecting the severity of optic neuritis.