Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin infection in the CNS suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and Th17 responses in an IFN-gamma-independent manner.
Multiple sclerosis and an animal model resembling multiple sclerosis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), are inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the CNS that are suppressed by systemic mycobacterial infection in mice and BCG vaccination in humans. Host defense responses against Mycobacterium in mice are influenced by T lymphocytes and their cytokine products, particularly IFN-gamma, which plays a protective regulatory role in EAE. To analyze the counter-regulatory role of mycobacterial infection-induced IFN-gamma in the CNS on the function of the pathological Th17 cells and the clinical outcome of EAE, we induced EAE in mice that were intracerebrally infected with Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG). In this study, we demonstrate that intracerebral (i.c.) BCG infection prevented inflammatory cell recruitment to the spinal cord and suppressed the development of EAE. Concomitantly, there was a significant decrease in the frequency of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-specific IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) T cells in the CNS. IL-17(+)CD4(+) T cell responses were significantly suppressed in i.c. BCG-infected mice following EAE induction regardless of T cell specificity. The frequency of Foxp3(+)CD4(+) T cells in these mice was equivalent to that of control mice. Intracerebral BCG infection-induced protection of EAE and suppression of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein-specific IL-17(+)CD4(+) T cell responses were similar in both wild-type and IFN-gamma-deficient mice. These data show that live BCG infection in the brain suppresses CNS autoimmunity. These findings also reveal that the regulation of Th17-mediated autoimmunity in the CNS can be independent of IFN-gamma-mediated mechanisms.
Lee, J; Reinke, EK; Zozulya, AL; Sandor, M; Fabry, Z
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