Mediators of Inflammation
Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a mouse model that reproduces cardinal signs of clinical, histopathological, and immunological features found in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Mast cells are suggested to be involved in the main inflammatory phases occurring during EAE development, possibly by secreting several autacoids and proteases. Among the latter, the chymase mouse mast cell protease 4 (mMCP-4) can contribute to the inflammatory response by producing endothelin-1 (ET-1). The aim of this study was to determine the impact of mMCP-4 on acute inflammatory stages in EAE. C57BL/6 wild type (WT) or mMCP-4 knockout (KO) mice were immunized with plus complete Freunds adjuvant followed by pertussis toxin. Immunized WT mice presented an initial acute phase characterized by progressive increases in clinical score, which were significantly reduced in mMCP-4 KO mice. In addition, higher levels of spinal myelin were found in mMCP-4 KO as compared with WT mice. Finally, whereas EAE triggered significant increases in brain levels of mMCP-4 mRNA and immunoreactive ET-1 in WT mice, the latter peptide was reduced to basal levels in mMCP-4 KO congeners. Together, the present study supports a role for mMCP-4 in the early inflammatory phases of the disease in a mouse model of MS.