Document Type



Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences



Expression of chemokine CCL2 in the normal central nervous system (CNS) is nearly undetectable, but is significantly upregulated and drives neuroinflammation during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis which is considered a contributing factor in the human disease. As astrocytes and brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC) forming the blood–brain barrier (BBB) are sources of CCL2 in EAE and other neuroinflammatory conditions, it is unclear if one or both CCL2 pools are critical to disease and by what mechanism(s).


Mice with selective CCL2 gene knockout (KO) in astrocytes (Astro KO) or endothelial cells (Endo KO) were used to evaluate the respective contributions of these sources to neuroinflammation, i.e., clinical disease progression, BBB damage, and parenchymal leukocyte invasion in a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55)-induced EAE model. High-resolution 3-dimensional (3D) immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and colloidal gold immuno-electron microscopy were employed to confirm sites of CCL2 expression, and 3D immunofluorescence confocal microscopy utilized to assess inflammatory responses along the CNS microvasculature.


Cell-selective loss of CCL2 immunoreactivity was demonstrated in the respective KO mice. Compared to wild-type (WT) mice, Astro KO mice showed reduced EAE severity but similar onset, while Endo KO mice displayed near normal severity but significantly delayed onset. Neither of the KO mice showed deficits in T cell proliferation, or IL-17 and IFN-γ production, following MOG35-55 exposure in vitro, or altered MOG-major histocompatibility complex class II tetramer binding. 3D confocal imaging further revealed distinct actions of the two CCL2 pools in the CNS. Astro KOs lacked the CNS leukocyte penetration and disrupted immunostaining of CLN-5 at the BBB seen during early EAE in WT mice, while Endo KOs uniquely displayed leukocytes stalled in the microvascular lumen.


These results point to astrocyte and endothelial pools of CCL2 each regulating different stages of neuroinflammation in EAE, and carry implications for drug delivery in neuroinflammatory disease.


Originally published in :

Journal of Neuroinflammation 2014, 11:10 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-11-10

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© 2014 Paul et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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