International Journal Of Molecular Sciences
T helper (Th)2 cells have been proposed to play a neuroprotective role in multiple sclerosis (MS). This is mainly based on loss-of-function studies in an animal model for MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), using blocking antibodies against Th2 related cytokines, and knockout mice lacking Th2-related molecules. We tested whether an increase of Th2 responses (gain-of-function approach) could alter EAE, the approach of novel GATA binding protein 3 (GATA3)-transgenic (tg) mice that overexpress GATA3, a transcription factor required for Th2 differentiation. In EAE induced with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35-55 peptide, GATA3-tg mice had a significantly delayed onset of disease and a less severe maximum clinical score, compared with wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Histologically, GATA3-tg mice had decreased levels of meningitis and demyelination in the spinal cord, and anti-inflammatory cytokine profiles immunologically, however both groups developed similar levels of MOG-specific lymphoproliferative responses. During the early stage, we detected higher levels of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-10, with MOG and mitogen stimulation of regional lymph node cells in GATA3-tg mice. During the late stage, only mitogen stimulation induced higher IL-4 and lower interferon- and IL-17 production in GATA3-tg mice. These results suggest that a preexisting bias toward a Th2 immune response may reduce the severity of inflammatory demyelinating diseases, including MS.