Team of T Chavakis: Choi EY et al. 2014. Mol Psychiatry. (LINK).
Inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) and disruption of its immune privilege are major contributors to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and of its rodent counterpart, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We have previously identified developmental endothelial locus-1 (Del-1) as an endogenous anti-inflammatory factor, which inhibits integrin-dependent leukocyte adhesion. Here we show that Del-1 contributes to the immune privilege status of the CNS. Intriguingly, Del-1 expression decreased in chronic-active MS lesions and in the inflamed CNS in the course of EAE. Del-1-deficiency was associated with increased EAE severity, accompanied by increased demyelination and axonal loss. As compared with control mice, Del-1-/- mice displayed enhanced disruption of the blood-brain barrier and increased infiltration of neutrophil granulocytes in the spinal cord in the course of EAE, accompanied by elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-17 (IL-17). The augmented levels of IL-17 in Del-1-deficiency derived predominantly from infiltrated CD8+ T cells. Increased EAE severity and neutrophil infiltration because of Del-1-deficiency was reversed in mice lacking both Del-1 and IL-17 receptor, indicating a crucial role for the IL-17/neutrophil inflammatory axis in EAE pathogenesis in Del-1-/- mice. Strikingly, systemic administration of Del-1-Fc ameliorated clinical relapse in relapsing-remitting EAE. Therefore, Del-1 is an endogenous homeostatic factor in the CNS protecting from neuroinflammation and demyelination. Our findings provide mechanistic underpinnings for the previous implication of Del-1 as a candidate MS susceptibility gene and suggest that Del-1-centered therapeutic approaches may be beneficial in neuroinflammatory and demyelinating disorders.