A comprehensive biochemical, immunological and histological study was undertaken during different stages of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Wistar rats with EAE induced by sensitization with bovine myelin showed a maximum decrease of body weight 14-16 days post-inoculation (dpi), coincident with the appearance of the paralysis symptom (acute period). Quantitation of some brain components indicated a temporal dissociation among the alterations observed. The higher diminution of myelin basic protein (MBP) occurred at 6 dpi and then increased to reach 21 dpi, a normal value. Also, the activity of 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphohydrolase was reduced by 40% with respect to control animals only at 6 dpi. The total lipid content was normal; however, among the individual lipids, sulfatides were principally degraded during the acute stage but the amount of cerebrosides was decreased during the recovery period (29-40 dpi). Free cholesterol was similar in both groups of animals, whereas cholesterol esters were detected in EAE animals from 14 to 40 dpi. Central nervous system meningeal and parenchymal infiltration with mononuclear cells was recognized principally at 14 dpi, but some of cells were still present at 40 dpi. Deposits of immunoglobulins in the infiltrated regions as well as in spinal cord motor neurons were observed among 14-29 dpi. Total circulating antibodies to MBP began to increase at 14 dpi, reaching a plateau at 21 dpi and then maintaining this value until 40 dpi. However, the population of anti-MBP antibodies that also recognizes the neuronal protein synapsin was only present at 14 dpi. The present results suggest that the neurological symptoms can be related to some early changes in the myelin membrane followed by alterations involving neuronal structures. The existence of immunological factors against some epitopes in MBP that also recognize a synaptosomal protein might account, at least in part, for the axonal damage and disruption of the normal interneuronal activity in EAE and lead together with the alterations in some specific myelin constituents and the concomitant CNS inflammatory process to the observed hindlimb paralysis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience