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Microglia pre-activation and neurodegeneration precipitate neuroinflammation without exacerbating tissue injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Microglia pre-activation and neurodegeneration precipitate neuroinflammation without exacerbating tissue injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Acta Neuropathologica Communications 7(1): 14

Human inflammatory or neurodegenerative diseases, such as progressive multiple sclerosis (MS), occur on a background of age-related microglia activation and iron accumulation as well as pre-existing neurodegeneration. Most experimental models for CNS diseases, however, are induced in rodents, which are naturally characterized by a homeostatic microglia phenotype, low cellular iron load and absence of neurodegeneration. Here, we show that naïve LEWzizi rats - Lewis rats with a zitter rat background - show a spontaneous phenotype partly mimicking the changes seen in human aging and particularly in the normal-appearing white and grey matter of patients with progressive MS. Using this model system, we further aimed to investigate (i) whether the acute monophasic MS model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) transforms into chronic progressive disease and (ii) whether EAE-induced neuroinflammation and tissue damage aggravate on the LEWzizi background. We found that the pre-existing LEWzizi-specific pathology precipitated EAE-related neuroinflammation into forebrain areas, which are devoid of EAE lesions in normal Lewis rats. However, EAE-related tissue damage was neither modified by the LEWzizi-specific pathology nor did EAE-induced neuroinflammation modify the LEWzizi-related pathological process. Our data indicate that the interaction between pre-activated microglia and CD4+ autoreactive T cells during the induction and propagation of tissue damage in the CNS is limited.

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Accession: 066446621

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PMID: 30704526

DOI: 10.1186/s40478-019-0667-9

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