Immune invasion of the central nervous system parenchyma and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, but not leukocyte extravasation from blood, are prevented in macrophage-depleted mice
Organ-specific autoimmune diseases are characterized by infiltrates, including T lymphocytes and activated macrophages. Macrophages and secondarily activated tissue resident counterparts can both present Ag to and contribute to cytokine secretion by T lymphocytes. We have previously shown a crucial role of peripheral macrophages in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), a Th1-mediated demyelinating disease that serves as a an animal model for multiple sclerosis (MS), by their depletion using mannosylated liposome-encapsulated dichloromethylene diphosphonate (Cl2MDP). Here we describe studies to investigate the mechanisms by which macrophages contribute to the lesion formation in EAE, by studying the effect of Cl2MDP-containing mannosylated liposomes (Cl2MDP-mnL) on adoptively transferred EAE in SJL/J mice. Adoptive transfer of EAE with myelin basic protein-reactive CD4+ T cells to SJL/J mice was abrogated by Cl2MDP-mnL treatment. CD4+ T cell and MHC II+ B220+ B cell extravasation from blood vessels and Th1 cytokine production were not inhibited. However, invasion of the central nervous system intraparenchymal tissues by lymphocytes, F4/80+, Mac-1+, and MOMA-1+ macrophages was almost completely blocked after treatment with Cl2MDP-mnL. Furthermore, in Cl2MDP-mnL-treated mice, the myelin sheaths appeared completely normal, whereas, in the control groups, marked demyelination occurred. Production of TNF-alpha and inducible nitric oxide synthase, both associated with macrophage/microglial activation, was inhibited. This intervention reveals a role for macrophages in regulating the invasion of autoreactive T cells and secondary glial recruitment that ordinarily lead to demyelinating pathology in EAE and multiple sclerosis.