Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Recent studies have demonstrated that significant axonal injury also occurs in MS patients and correlates with neurological dysfunction, but it is not known whether this neuronal damage is a primary disease process, or occurs only secondary to demyelination. In the current studies, neurotropic strains of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) that induce meningitis, encephalitis, and demyelination in the CNS, an animal model of MS, were used to evaluate mechanisms of axonal injury. The pathogenic properties of genetically engineered isogenic spike protein recombinant demyelinating and non-demyelinating strains of MHV were compared. Studies demonstrate that a demyelinating strain of MHV causes concomitant axonal loss and macrophage-mediated demyelination. The mechanism of axonal loss and demyelination in MHV infection is dependent on successful transport of virus from gray matter to white matter using the MHV host attachment spike glycoprotein. Our data show that axonal loss and demyelination can be independent direct viral cytopathic events, and suggest similar direct axonal damage may occur in MS. These results have important implications for the design of neuroprotective strategies for CNS demyelinating disease, and our model identifies the spike protein as a therapeutic target to prevent axonal transport of neurotropic viruses.
Multiple Sclerosis; Axonal loss; demyelination; axonal transport; macrophages; neurotropic viruses
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) selectively damages white matter. White matter damage does not produce deficits in many behavioral tests used to analyze experimental TBI. Rats were impaired on an active place avoidance task following inactivation of one hippocampal injection of tetrodotoxin. The need for both hippocampi suggests that acquisition of the active place avoidance task may require interhippocampal communication. The controlled cortical impact model of TBI demyelinates midline white matter and impairs rats on the active place avoidance task. One white matter region that is demyelinated is the fimbria that contains hippocampal commissural fibers. We therefore tested whether demyelination of the fimbria produces deficits in active place avoidance. Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) was injected stereotaxically to produce a cycle of demyelination-remyelination of the fimbria. At 4 days, myelin loss was observed in the fimbria of LPC-, but not saline-injected rats. Fourteen days after injection, myelin content increased in LPC-, but not saline-injected rats. Three days after injection, both saline- and LPC-injected rats had similar performance on an open field and passive place avoidance task in which the rat avoided a stationary shock zone on a stationary arena. The following day, on the active place avoidance task, LPC-injected rats had a significantly higher number of shock zone entrances suggesting learning was impaired. At 14 days after injection, saline- and LPC-injected rats had similar performance on open field and passive place avoidance. On active place avoidance, however, saline- and LPC-injected rats had a similar number of total entrances suggesting that the impairment seen at 4 days was no longer present at 14 days. These data suggest that active place avoidance is highly sensitive to white matter injury.
Degenerative features such as neuronal, glial, synaptic and axonal loss have been identified in neocortical and other grey matter structures in patients with multiple sclerosis, but mechanisms for neurodegeneration are unclear. Cortical demyelinating lesions are a potential cause of this degeneration but the pathological and clinical significance of these lesions is uncertain, as they remain difficult to identify and study in vivo. In this study we aimed to describe and quantify cellular and subcellular pathology in the cortex of MOG-induced marmoset experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis using quantitative immunohistochemical methods.
We found evidence of diffuse axonal damage occurring throughout cortical grey matter with evidence for synaptic loss and gliosis and a 13.6% decrease in neuronal size and occurring in deep cortical layers. Evidence of additional axonal damage and a 29.6–36.5% loss of oligodendrocytes was found in demyelinated cortical lesions. Leucocortical lesions also showed neuronal loss of 22.2% and a 15.8% increase in oligodendrocyte size.
The marmoset EAE model therefore shows both focal and generalised neurodegeneration. The generalised changes cannot be directly related to focal lesions, suggesting that they either are a consequence of diffusible inflammatory factors or secondary to remote lesions acting through trans-synaptic or retrograde degeneration.
multiple sclerosis; cortex; inflammation; neurodegeneration; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; marmoset; Callithrix jacchus; immunohistochemistry; demyelination; myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
A model of glial–neuronal interactions is proposed that could be explanatory for the demyelination identified in brains with schizophrenia. It is based on two hypotheses: (1) that glia–neuron systems are functionally viable and important for normal brain function, and (2) that disruption of this postulated function disturbs the glial categorization function, as shown by formal analysis. According to this model, in schizophrenia receptors on astrocytes in glial–neuronal synaptic units are not functional, loosing their modulatory influence on synaptic neurotransmission. Hence, an unconstrained neurotransmission flux occurs that hyperactivates the axon and floods the cognate receptors of neurotransmitters on oligodendrocytes. The excess of neurotransmitters may have a toxic effect on oligodendrocytes and myelin, causing demyelination. In parallel, an increasing impairment of axons may disconnect neuronal networks. It is formally shown how oligodendrocytes normally categorize axonic information processing via their processes. Demyelination decomposes the oligodendrocyte–axonic system making it incapable to generate categories of information. This incoherence may be responsible for symptoms of disorganization in schizophrenia, such as thought disorder, inappropriate affect and incommunicable motor behavior. In parallel, the loss of oligodendrocytes affects gap junctions in the panglial syncytium, presumably responsible for memory impairment in schizophrenia.
glial–neuronal interactions; demyelination; schizophrenia; synaptic imbalance
Mice with inactivation of the Tuberous sclerosis complex-1 (Tsc1) gene in glia (Tsc1GFAPCKO mice) have deficient astrocyte glutamate transporters and develop seizures, suggesting that abnormal glutamate homeostasis contributes to neurological abnormalities in these mice. We examined the hypothesis that Tsc1GFAPCKO mice have elevated extracellular brain glutamate levels that may cause neuronal death, abnormal glutamatergic synaptic function, and associated impairments in behavioral learning. In vivo microdialysis documented elevated glutamate levels in hippocampi of Tsc1GFAPCKO mice and several cell death assays demonstrated neuronal death in hippocampus and neocortex. Impairment of long-term potentiation (LTP) with tetanic stimulation was observed in hippocampal slices from Tsc1GFAPCKO mice and was reversed by low concentrations of NMDA antagonist, indicating that excessive synaptic glutamate directly inhibited LTP. Finally, Tsc1GFAPCKO mice exhibited deficits in two hippocampal-dependent learning paradigms. These results suggest that abnormal glutamate homeostasis predisposes to excitotoxic cell death, impaired synaptic plasticity and learning deficits in Tsc1GFAPCKO mice.
glia; astrocyte; glutamate transporter; microdialysis; long-term potentiation; learning; excitotoxicity; seizure; epilepsy
Subcortical white matter in the adult human brain contains a population of interneurons that helps regulate cerebral blood flow. We investigated the fate of these neurons following subcortical white matter demyelination. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine neurons in normal-appearing subcortical white matter and seven acute and 59 chronic demyelinated lesions in brains from nine patients with multiple sclerosis and four controls. Seven acute and 44 of 59 chronic multiple sclerosis lesions had marked neuronal loss. Compared to surrounding normal-appearing white matter, the remaining 15 chronic multiple sclerosis lesions contained a 72% increase in mature interneuron density, increased synaptic densities and cells with phenotypic characteristics of immature neurons. Lesion areas with increased neuron densities contained a morphologically distinct population of activated microglia. Subventricular zones contiguous with demyelinated lesions also contained an increase in cells with phenotypes of neuronal precursors. These results support neurogenesis in a subpopulation of demyelinated subcortical white matter lesions in multiple sclerosis brains.
multiple sclerosis; white matter neurons; neurogenesis
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3), the major polyunsaturated fatty acid accumulated in the brain during development, has been implicated in learning and memory, but underlying cellular mechanisms are not clearly understood. Here, we demonstrate that DHA significantly affects hippocampal neuronal development and synaptic function in developing hippocampi. In embryonic neuronal cultures, DHA supplementation uniquely promoted neurite growth, synapsin puncta formation and synaptic protein expression, particularly synapsins and glutamate receptors. In DHA-supplemented neurons, spontaneous synaptic activity was significantly increased, mostly because of enhanced glutamatergic synaptic activity. Conversely, hippocampal neurons from DHA-depleted fetuses showed inhibited neurite growth and synaptogenesis. Furthermore, n-3 fatty acid deprivation during development resulted in marked decreases of synapsins and glutamate receptor subunits in the hippocampi of 18-day-old pups with concomitant impairment of long-term potentiation, a cellular mechanism underlying learning and memory. While levels of synapsins and NMDA receptor subunit NR2A were decreased in most hippocampal regions, NR2A expression was particularly reduced in CA3, suggesting possible role of DHA in CA3-NMDA receptor-dependent learning and memory processes. The DHA-induced neurite growth, synaptogenesis, synapsin, and glutamate receptor expression, and glutamatergic synaptic function may represent important cellular aspects supporting the hippocampus-related cognitive function improved by DHA.
docosahexaenoic acid; hippocampal development; long-term potentiation; neurite growth; synaptic function; synaptogenesis
Demyelinating disorders such as leukodystrophies and multiple sclerosis are neurodegenerative diseases characterized by the progressive loss of myelin that may lead toward a chronic demyelination of the brain's white matter, impairing normal axonal conduction velocity and ultimately causing neurodegeneration. Current treatments modifying the pathological mechanisms are capable of ameliorating the disease; however, frequently, these therapies are not sufficient to repress the progressive demyelination into a chronic condition and permanent loss of function. To this end, we analyzed the effect that bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cell (BM-MSC) grafts exert in a chronically demyelinated mouse brain. As a result, oligodendrocyte progenitors were recruited surrounding the graft due to the expression of various trophic signals by the grafted MSCs. Although there was no significant reaction in the non-grafted side, in the grafted regions oligodendrocyte progenitors were detected. These progenitors were derived from the nearby tissue as well as from the neurogenic niches, including the subependymal zone and dentate gyrus. Once near the graft site, the cells matured to myelinating oligodendrocytes. Finally, electrophysiological studies demonstrated that axonal conduction velocity was significantly increased in the grafted side of the fimbria. In conclusion, we demonstrate here that in chronic demyelinated white matter, BM-MSC transplantation activates oligodendrocyte progenitors and induces remyelination in the tissue surrounding the stem cell graft.
mesenchymal stromal cells; demyelinating mouse model; trophic release; oligodendrocyte activation; remyelination
White matter is the brain region underlying the gray matter cortex, composed of neuronal fibers coated with electrical insulation called myelin. Previously of interest in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, myelin is attracting new interest as an unexpected contributor to a wide range of psychiatric disorders, including depression and schizophrenia. This is stimulating research into myelin involvement in normal cognitive function, learning and IQ. Myelination continues for decades in the human brain; it is modifiable by experience, and it affects information processing by regulating the velocity and synchrony of impulse conduction between distant cortical regions. Cell-culture studies have identified molecular mechanisms regulating myelination by electrical activity, and myelin also limits the critical period for learning through inhibitory proteins that suppress axon sprouting and synaptogenesis.
The simplest model for explaining conduction defects in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other demyelinating diseases assumes that the only abnormality present is loss of myelin. The consequences of such an assumption have been investigated by numerical solution of a well-known set of differential equations describing conduction in a model demyelinated axon. In agreement with clinical findings, we show that this model predicts that the temperature at which conduction block occurs is a steep function of the extent of demyelination, so that small temperature increases may block large numbers of conducting fibres. Decreasing calcium concentration (or increasing pH) is calculated markedly to improve the conduction velocity of conducting demyelinated fibres and will, in addition, restore conduction in blocked fibres. The effects of other pharmacological agents have also been computed. The presence of a demyelinating lesion in a nerve fibre is shown greatly to impair the ability of the fibre to conduct repetitive impulses, conduction failing at much lower frequencies than in normal fibres. These calculations provide some insight into the nature of conduction defects in demyelinated nerve, demonstrate that many clinical features of MS are the expected consequence of loss of myelin and do not require the presence of other defects for their explanation, and provide a useful approach to the search for a symptomatic therapy.
Over half of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients experience cognitive deficits, including learning and memory dysfunction, and the mechanisms underlying these deficits remain poorly understood. Neuronal injury and synaptic loss have been shown to occur within the hippocampus in other neurodegenerative disease models, and these pathologies have been correlated with cognitive impairment. Whether hippocampal abnormalities occur in MS models is unknown. Using experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), we evaluated hippocampal neurodegeneration and inflammation during disease. Hippocampal pathology began early in EAE disease course, and included decreases in CA1 pyramidal layer volume, loss of inhibitory interneurons and increased cell death of neurons and glia. It is interesting to note that these effects occurred in the presence of chronic microglial activation, with a relative paucity of infiltrating blood-borne immune cells. Widespread diffuse demyelination occurred in the hippocampus, but there was no significant decrease in axonal density. Furthermore, there was a significant reduction in pre-synaptic puncta and synaptic protein expression within the hippocampus, as well as impaired performance on a hippocampal-dependent spatial learning task. Our results demonstrate that neurodegenerative changes occur in the hippocampus during autoimmune-mediated demyelinating disease. This work establishes a preclinical model for assessing treatments targeted toward preventing hippocampal neuropathology and dysfunction in MS.
EAE; hippocampus; MS; pathology
Demyelinating diseases cause destruction of the myelin sheath, while axons are relatively spared. Pathologically, demyelination can be the result of an inflammatory process, viral infection, acquired metabolic derangement and ischemic insult. Three diseases that can cause inflammatory demyelination of the CNS are: Multiple sclerosis (MS), Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and Acute hemorrhagic leucoencephalitis. Differentiation is not always easy and there is considerable overlaping. Data about adults with acute demyelination requiring ICU admission is limited.
A 17 year old Greek female was hospitalised in the ICU because of acute respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation. She had a history of febrile disease one month before, acute onset of paraplegia, diplopia, progressive arm weakness and dyspnea. Her consciousness was not impaired. A demyelinating central nervous system (CNS) disease, possibly post infectious encephalomyelitis (ADEM) was the underlying condition. The MRI of the brain disclosed diffused expanded cerebral lesions involving the optic nerve, basal ganglia cerebellum, pons and medulla oblongata. There was also extended involvement of the cervical and thoracic part of the spinal cord. CSF leukocyte count was elevated with lymphocyte predominance. The patient required mechanical ventilation for two months. Then she was transferred to a rehabilitation centre. Three years later she remains paraplegic. Since then she has not suffered any other demyelination attack.
Demyelinating diseases can cause acute respiratory failure when the spinal cord is affected. Severe forms of these diseases, making necessary ICU admission, is less frequently reported. Intensivists should be aware of the features of these rare diseases.
Voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels play critical roles not only in regulating synaptic transmission and intrinsic excitability of neurons, but also in controlling the function and proliferation of other cells in the central nervous system (CNS). The non-specific Kv channel blocker, 4-AminoPyridine (4-AP) (Dalfampridine, Ampyra®), is currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disease. However, little is known how various types of Kv channels are altered in any inflammatory demyelinating diseases. By using established animal models for MS, Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), we report that expression and distribution patterns of Kv channels are altered in the CNS correlating with EAE severity. The juxtaparanodal (JXP) targeting of Kv1.2/Kvβ2 along myelinated axons is disrupted within demyelinated lesions in the white matter of spinal cord in EAE. Moreover, somatodendritic Kv2.1 channels in the motor neurons of lower spinal cord significantly decrease correlating with EAE severity. Interestingly, Kv1.4 expression surrounding lesions is markedly up-regulated in the initial acute phase of both EAE models. Its expression in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive astrocytes further increases in the remitting phase of remitting-relapsing EAE (rrEAE), but decreases in late chronic EAE (chEAE) and the relapse of rrEAE, suggesting that Kv1.4-positive astrocytes may be neuroprotective. Taken together, our studies reveal myelin-dependent and -independent alterations of Kv channels in the progression of EAE and lay a solid foundation for future study in search of a better treatment for MS.
voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE); 4-AminoPyridine (4-AP); myelin; astrocyte; spinal cord
Mitochondrial content within axons increases following demyelination in the central nervous system, presumably as a response to the changes in energy needs of axons imposed by redistribution of sodium channels. Myelin sheaths can be restored in demyelinated axons and remyelination in some multiple sclerosis lesions is extensive, while in others it is incomplete or absent. The effects of remyelination on axonal mitochondrial content in multiple sclerosis, particularly whether remyelination completely reverses the mitochondrial changes that follow demyelination, are currently unknown. In this study, we analysed axonal mitochondria within demyelinated, remyelinated and myelinated axons in post-mortem tissue from patients with multiple sclerosis and controls, as well as in experimental models of demyelination and remyelination, in vivo and in vitro. Immunofluorescent labelling of mitochondria (porin, a voltage-dependent anion channel expressed on all mitochondria) and axons (neurofilament), and ultrastructural imaging showed that in both multiple sclerosis and experimental demyelination, mitochondrial content within remyelinated axons was significantly less than in acutely and chronically demyelinated axons but more numerous than in myelinated axons. The greater mitochondrial content within remyelinated, compared with myelinated, axons was due to an increase in density of porin elements whereas increase in size accounted for the change observed in demyelinated axons. The increase in mitochondrial content in remyelinated axons was associated with an increase in mitochondrial respiratory chain complex IV activity. In vitro studies showed a significant increase in the number of stationary mitochondria in remyelinated compared with myelinated and demyelinated axons. The number of mobile mitochondria in remyelinated axons did not significantly differ from myelinated axons, although significantly greater than in demyelinated axons. Our neuropathological data and findings in experimental demyelination and remyelination in vivo and in vitro are consistent with a partial amelioration of the supposed increase in energy demand of demyelinated axons by remyelination.
multiple sclerosis; axon; demyelination; mitochondria; remyelination
Demyelination and neurodegeneration is a major contributor in the progression of disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). Thus, the development of therapies that are neuroprotective has elicited considerable interest. Estrogens and estrogen receptor (ER) ligand treatments are promising treatments to prevent MS-induced neurodegeneration and a multicenter phase II clinical trial of estriol as beneficial therapy in MS is underway. Here, we discuss studies performed in our laboratory that examined effects of ER ligands in the inflammatory/demyelinating disorder experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of MS. Administration of estriol or 17β-estradiol reduced clinical severity and this clinical disease improvement was associated with favorable changes in cytokine production. There was a significant decrease of neuronal pathology in gray matter along with myelin and axon preservation in white matter of spinal cords of mice with EAE. In subsequent experiments, we contrasted results of ERα versus ERβ ligand treatment. While ERα ligand treatment was anti-inflammatory, ERβ ligand treatment was not. ERβ ligand treatment nevertheless reduced demyelination and preserved axon numbers in white matter and prevented neuronal abnormalities in gray matter. Clinically, ERα ligand treatment abrogated disease at the onset, while ERβ ligand treatment had no effect at disease onset, but promoted recovery. Thus, unlike ERα ligand treatment, ERβ ligand treatment was protective at the level of the target organ, independent of anti-inflammatory effects in the peripheral immune system. ERβ ligand treatment should be considered as a potential neuroprotective agent for MS and other neurodegenerative diseases, particularly since breast and uterine cancer are mediated through ERα.
estrogen receptor ligands; anti-inflammation; neuroprotection; EAE
Histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) is a nuclear enzyme involved in transcriptional repression. We report here that cytosolic HDAC1 is detected in damaged axons in brains of human patients with Multiple Sclerosis and of mice with cuprizone-induced demyelination, ex vivo models of demyelination and in cultured neurons exposed to glutamate and TNF-α. Nuclear export of HDAC1 is mediated by the interaction with the nuclear receptor CRM-1 and leads to impaired mitochondrial transport. The formation of complexes between exported HDAC1 and members of the kinesin family of motor proteins hinders the interaction with cargo molecules thereby inhibiting mitochondrial movement and inducing localized beadings. This effect is prevented by inhibiting HDAC1 nuclear export with leptomycin B, treating neurons with pharmacological inhibitors of HDAC activity or silencing HDAC1 but not other HDAC isoforms. Together these data identify nuclear export of HDAC1 as a critical event for impaired mitochondrial transport in damaged neurons.
Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) infection of mice is an experimental model for multiple sclerosis (MS). TMEV induces a biphasic disease in susceptible mouse strains. During the acute phase, 1 week after infection, TMEV causes polioencephalomyelitis characterized by infection and apoptosis of neurons in the gray matter of the brain. During the chronic phase, about 1 month after infection, virus infects glial cells and macrophages, and induces inflammatory demyelination with oligodendrocyte apoptosis and axonal degeneration in the white matter of the spinal cord. Although antibody, CD4+, and CD8+ T cell responses against TMEV capsid proteins play important roles in neuropathogenesis, infectious virus with persistence is necessary to induce demyelination; in general, adoptive transfer of antibody or T cells alone did not induce central nervous system (CNS) disease. The TMEV model can be useful for testing new therapeutic strategies specifically as a viral model for MS. Therapies targeting adhesion molecules, axonal degeneration, and immunosuppression can be beneficial for pure autoimmune CNS demyelinating diseases, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, but could be detrimental in virus-induced demyelinating diseases, such as progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
adhesion molecules; apoptosis; axonal damage; central nervous system; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; inside–out model
Restless legs syndrome is common in patients with multiple sclerosis but has not been reported as occurring due to an acute, inflammatory, demyelinating attack. Restless legs syndrome is known to be related to low brain iron levels. Multiple sclerosis has been associated with the abnormal accumulation of iron in the chronic, progressive phase of axonal degeneration. Iron deficiency may play a role in demyelination. This suggests that restless legs syndrome may be caused by the inflammatory, demyelinating component of multiple sclerosis rather than axonal degeneration. The author presents a case of self-limited restless legs syndrome occurring as an acute attack of multiple sclerosis, supporting the notion that inflammatory demyelination is the underlying pathophysiology of restless legs syndrome in multiple sclerosis.
Presently there is no clinically feasible imaging modality that can effectively detect cortical demyelination in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The objective of this study is to determine if clinically feasible magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) imaging is sensitive to cortical demyelination in MS.
MRI were acquired in situ on 7 recently deceased patients with MS using clinically feasible sequences at 3 T, including relatively high-resolution T1-weighted and proton density–weighted images with/without a magnetization transfer pulse for calculation of MTR. The brains were rapidly removed and placed in fixative. Multiple cortical regions from each brain were immunostained for myelin proteolipid protein and classified as mostly myelinated (MMctx), mostly demyelinated (MDctx), or intermediately demyelinated (IDctx). MRIs were registered with the cortical sections so that the cortex corresponding to each cortical section could be identified, along with adjacent subcortical white matter (WM). Mean cortical MTR normalized to mean WM MTR was calculated for each cortical region. Linear mixed-effects models were used to test if mean normalized cortical MTR was significantly lower in demyelinated cortex.
We found that mean normalized cortical MTR was significantly lower in cortical tissue with any demyelination (IDctx or MDctx) compared to MMctx (demyelinated cortex: least-squares mean [LSM] = 0.797, SE = 0.007; MMctx: LSM = 0.837, SE = 0.006; p = 0.01, n = 89).
This result demonstrates that clinically feasible MTR imaging is sensitive to cortical demyelination and suggests that MTR will be a useful tool to help detect MS cortical lesions in living patients with MS.
Both genetic background and environmental factors, very probably viruses, appear to play a role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS). Lessons from viral experimental models suggest that many different viruses may trigger inflammatory demyelinating diseases resembling MS. Theiler's virus, a picornavirus, induces in susceptible strains of mice early acute disease resembling encephalomyelitis followed by late chronic demyelinating disease, which is one of the best, if not the best, animal model for MS. During early acute disease the virus replicates in gray matter of the central nervous system but is eliminated to very low titers 2 weeks postinfection. Late chronic demyelinating disease becomes clinically apparent approximately 2 weeks later and is characterized by extensive demyelinating lesions and mononuclear cell infiltrates, progressive spinal cord atrophy, and axonal loss. Myelin damage is immunologically mediated, but it is not clear whether it is due to molecular mimicry or epitope spreading. Cytokines, nitric oxide/reactive nitrogen species, and costimulatory molecules are involved in the pathogenesis of both diseases. Close similarities between Theiler's virus-induced demyelinating disease in mice and MS in humans, include the following: major histocompatibility complex-dependent susceptibility; substantial similarities in neuropathology, including axonal damage and remyelination; and paucity of T-cell apoptosis in demyelinating disease. Both diseases are immunologically mediated. These common features emphasize the close similarities of Theiler's virus-induced demyelinating disease in mice and MS in humans.
Some strains of mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) can induce chronic inflammatory demyelination in mice that mimics certain pathological features of multiple sclerosis. We have examined neural cell tropism of demyelinating and nondemyelinating strains of MHV in order to determine whether central nervous system (CNS) cell tropism plays a role in demyelination. Previous studies demonstrated that recombinant MHV strains, isogenic other than for the spike gene, differ in the extent of neurovirulence and the ability to induce demyelination. Here we demonstrate that these strains also differ in their abilities to infect a particular cell type(s) in the brain. Furthermore, there is a correlation between the differential localization of viral antigen in spinal cord gray matter and that in white matter during acute infection and the ability to induce demyelination later on. Viral antigen from demyelinating strains is detected initially in both gray and white matter, with subsequent localization to white matter of the spinal cord, whereas viral antigen localization of nondemyelinating strains is restricted mainly to gray matter. This observation suggests that the localization of viral antigen to white matter during the acute stage of infection is essential for the induction of chronic demyelination. Overall, these observations suggest that isogenic demyelinating and nondemyelinating strains of MHV, differing in the spike protein expressed, infect neurons and glial cells in different proportions and that differential tropism to a particular CNS cell type may play a significant role in mediating the onset and mechanisms of demyelination.
Distinction between acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and acute multiple sclerosis is often clinically difficult. Perivenous demyelination is the pathological hallmark of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, whereas confluent demyelination is the hallmark of acute multiple sclerosis. We investigated whether perivenous demyelination versus confluent demyelination distinguishes acute disseminated encephalomyelitis from multiple sclerosis. Patients with perivenous demyelination (n = 13; median age 43 years, range 5–67) on brain biopsy and/or autopsy, ascertained retrospectively, were compared with a cohort with confluent demyelination only (n = 91; 84% multiple sclerosis, 16% isolated syndrome at follow-up; median age 39 years, range 10–69). Clinical presentation, course and the International Paediatric Multiple Sclerosis Study Group clinical criteria for acute disseminated encephalomyelitis were assessed in both cohorts. Among the perivenous demyelination cohort, 10 patients had only perivenous demyelination and three also had confluent demyelination. All but one patient with perivenous demyelination only had a monophasic course, whereas two of three with both types had a relapsing course. The perivenous demyelination cohort was more likely than the confluent demyelination cohort to present with encephalopathy (P < 0.001), depressed level of consciousness (P < 0.001), headache (P < 0.001), meningismus (P = 0.04), cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis (P = 0.04) or multifocal enhancing magnetic resonance imaging lesions (P < 0.001). A distinct pattern of cortical microglial activation and aggregation without associated cortical demyelination was found among six perivenous demyelination patients, all of whom had encephalopathy and four of whom had depressed level of consciousness. This pattern of cortical pathology was not observed in the confluent demyelination cohort, even in one patient with depressed level of consciousness. Clinical criteria were 80% sensitive and 91% specific for pathologically defined acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (perivenous demyelination), but misdiagnosed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis among 9% of patients with confluent demyelination and multiple sclerosis diagnosis at last follow-up. Perivenous demyelination is associated with meningoencephalopathic presentations and a monophasic course. Depressed level of consciousness is a more specific clinical criterion for pathologically confirmed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis than encephalopathy, which over-diagnosed acute disseminated encephalomyelitis among multiple sclerosis patients. A distinct pattern of cortical microglial activation without cortical demyelination may be the pathological correlate of depressed level of consciousness in acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Although pathological evidence of perivenous demyelination may be superior to clinical criteria for diagnosing acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, the co-occurrence of perivenous and confluent demyelination in some individuals suggests pathogenic overlap between acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and multiple sclerosis and misclassification even with biopsy.
multiple sclerosis; magnetic resonance imaging; neuropathology; immune-mediated demyelination; demyelinating disease
A diagnosis of demyelination carries important therapeutic and prognostic implications. In most cases the diagnosis is made clinically, and involvement of the histopathologist is largely confined to postmortem confirmation and clinicopathological correlation. However, every now and then, accurate diagnosis of the presence or cause of demyelination before death hinges on the histopathological assessment. Recognition of demyelination depends on an awareness of this as a diagnostic possibility, and on the use of appropriate tinctorial and immunohistochemical stains to identify myelin, axons and inflammatory cells. In biopsy specimens, the critical distinction is usually from ischaemic or neoplastic disease, and the types of demyelinating disease most likely to be encountered are multiple sclerosis, acute‐disseminated encephalomyelitis, progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy and extrapontine myelinolysis. Interpretation of the pathology has to be made in the context of the clinical, radiological and biochemical findings. Freezing of a small amount of fresh tissue allows for later virological studies, and electron microscopy is occasionally helpful for demonstration of viral particles.
Myelin forms an insulating sheath surrounding axons in the central and peripheral nervous systems and is essential for rapid propagation of neuronal action potentials. Demyelination is an acquired disorder in which normally formed myelin degenerates, exposing axons to the extracellular environment. The result is dysfunction of normal neuron-to-neuron communication and in many cases, varying degrees of axonal degeneration. Numerous central nervous system demyelinating disorders exist, including multiple sclerosis. Although demyelination is the major manifestation of most of the demyelinating diseases, recent studies have clearly documented concomitant axonal loss to varying degrees resulting in long-term disability. Axonal injury may occur secondary to myelin damage (outside-in model) or myelin damage may occur secondary to axonal injury (inside-out model). Viral induced demyelination models, has provided unique imminent into the cellular mechanisms of myelin destruction. They illustrate mechanisms of viral persistence, including latent infections, virus reactivation and viral-induced tissue damage. These studies have also provided excellent paradigms to study the interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS). In this review we will discuss potential cellular and molecular mechanism of central nervous system axonal loss and demyelination in a viral induced mouse model of multiple sclerosis.
It is abundantly clear that there is extensive gray matter pathology occurring in multiple sclerosis. While attention to gray matter pathology was initially limited to studies of autopsy specimens and biopsies, the development of new MRI techniques has allowed assessment of gray matter pathology in vivo. Current MRI techniques allow the direct visualization of gray matter demyelinating lesions, the quantification of diffuse damage to normal appearing gray matter, and the direct measurement of gray matter atrophy. Gray matter demyelination (both focal and diffuse) and gray matter atrophy are found in the very earliest stages of multiple sclerosis and are progressive over time. Accumulation of gray matter damage has substantial impact on the lives of multiple sclerosis patients; a growing body of the literature demonstrates correlations between gray matter pathology and various measures of both clinical disability and cognitive impairment. The effect of disease modifying therapies on the rate accumulation of gray matter pathology in MS has been investigated. This review focuses on the neuroimaging of gray matter pathology in MS, the effect of the accumulation of gray matter pathology on clinical and cognitive disability, and the effect of disease-modifying agents on various measures of gray matter damage.