J Neural Transm Suppl. 2003;(65):29-49
Kwidzinski E, Mutlu LK, Kovac AD, Bunse J, Goldmann J, Mahlo J, Aktas O, Zipp F, Kamradt T, Nitsch R, Bechmann I.
Department of Cell, Institute of Anatomy, Charite, Medical Faculty, Humboldt-University, Berlin, Germany.
Upon peripheral immunization with myelin epitopes, susceptible rats and mice develop T cell-mediated demyelination similar to that observed in the human autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
In the same animals, brain injury does not induce autoimmune encephalomyelitis despite massive release of myelin antigens and early expansion of myelin specific T cells in local lymph nodes, indicating that the self-specific T cell clones are kept under control.
Using entorhinal cortex lesion (ECL) to induce axonal degeneration in the hippocampus, we identified possible mechanisms of immune tolerance after brain trauma.
Following ECL, astrocytes upregulate the death ligand CD95L, allowing apoptotic elimination of infiltrating activated T cells.
Myelin-phagocytosing microglia express MHC-II and the costimulatory molecule CD86, but lack CD80, which is found only on activated antigen presenting cells (APCs).
Restimulation of invading T cells by such immature APCs (e.g. CD80 negative microglia) may lead to T cell anergy and/or differentiation of regulatory/Th3-like cells due to insufficient costimulation and presence of high levels of TGF-beta and IL-10 in the CNS.
Thus, T cell -apoptosis, -anergy, and -suppression apparently maintain immune tolerance after initial expansion of myelin-specific T lymphocytes following brain injury.
This view is supported by a previous metastatistical analysis which rejected the hypothesis that brain trauma is causative of MS (Goddin et al., 1999).
However, concomitant trauma-independent proinflammatory signals, e.g., those evoked by clinically quiescent infections, may trigger maturation of APCs, thus shifting a delicate balance from immune tolerance and protective immune responses to destructive autoimmunity.