More MS news articles for Jan 2002

The effects of pregnancy on myelin basic protein-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats: suppression of clinical disease, modulation of cytokine expression in the spinal cord inflammatory infiltrate and suppression of lymphocyte proliferation by pregnancy sera

Am J Reprod Immunol 2001 Dec;46(6):405-12
Harness J, McCombe PA.
Department of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


The present study was performed to explore the effects of pregnancy on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in Lewis rats by inoculation with myelin basic protein (MBP) (MBP-EAE).


MBP-EAE was induced in pregnant and non-pregnant rats and severity of disease evaluated. Serum from pregnant and non-pregnant rats was used in standard lymphocyte proliferation assays. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to investigate the expression of cytokine mRNA in the inflammatory cells obtained from the spinal cord of rats on day 15 after inoculation.


Pregnant rats developed less severe disease than non-pregnant rats. Serum from pregnant rats suppressed the proliferation of T lymphocytes in response to MBP. There was significantly increased expression of IL-4, IL-10 and TNF-alpha mRNA in the spinal cord infiltrate of pregnant rats.


Circulating humoral factors and alteration in cytokine production by inflammatory cells may contribute to the suppression of EAE in pregnant rats.