More MS news articles for September 2002

Function of the Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis and Humoral Immune Mechanisms during Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis in SJL/J Mice

Neuroimmunomodulation 2002;10(1):9-16
Andreini I, Getuli C, Pacelli V, Manno R, Ragazzoni E, Nunziata A, Navarra P.
Research Toxicology Centre S.p.A., Pomezia, Italy.


In the present work, a method to induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in female SJL/J mice was developed and validated in our laboratory. Although the latter is a popular animal model to mimic human multiple sclerosis, it remains to be clarified if:

(1) the measurement of circulating antibodies against myelin antigens can be used as an index to predict the development of clinical EAE, as well as the severity of disease, and

(2) the genetic susceptibility of this strain is associated with altered hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function.

Methods and Results:

We observed that SJL/J mice display a strong humoral response to immunization with myelin basic protein (MBP), as assessed by the titration of circulating anti-MBP antibodies. However, there was no apparent correlation between the presence and amount of circulating antibodies and the occurrence or severity of disease. Concerning the responsiveness of the HPA axis, we observed that circulating corticosterone levels are not modified at all during the induction of EAE, whereas an increase is observed at a later stage of the disease.


The above profile is strongly reminiscent of the HPA axis response to the induction of EAE in Lewis rats, suggesting that the susceptibility of SJL/J mice to EAE may similarly be caused, at least in part, by blunted HPA reactivity to immune challenges.