Infection with Mycobacterium bovis BCG diverts traffic of myelin oligodendroglial glycoprotein autoantigen-specific T cells away from the central nervous system and ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Infectious agents have been proposed to influence susceptibility to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. We induced a Th1-mediated central nervous system (CNS) autoimmune disease, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice with an ongoing infection with Mycobacterium bovis strain bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) to study this possibility. C57BL/6 mice infected with live BCG for 6 weeks were immunized with myelin oligodendroglial glycoprotein peptide (MOG(35-55)) to induce EAE. The clinical severity of EAE was reduced in BCG-infected mice in a BCG dose-dependent manner. Inflammatory-cell infiltration and demyelination of the spinal cord were significantly lessened in BCG-infected animals compared with uninfected EAE controls. ELISPOT and gamma interferon intracellular cytokine analysis of the frequency of antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells in the CNS and in BCG-induced granulomas and adoptive transfer of MOG(35-55)-specific green fluorescent protein-expressing cells into BCG-infected animals indicated that nervous tissue-specific (MOG(35-55)) CD4(+) T cells accumulate in the BCG-induced granuloma sites. These data suggest a novel mechanism for infection-mediated modulation of autoimmunity. We demonstrate that redirected trafficking of activated CNS antigen-specific CD4(+) T cells to local inflammatory sites induced by BCG infection modulates the initiation and progression of a Th1-mediated CNS autoimmune disease.
Sewell, DL; Reinke, EK; Co, DO; Hogan, LH; Fritz, RB; Sandor, M; Fabry, Z
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