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1.  Dystroglycan is selectively cleaved at the parenchymal basement membrane at sites of leukocyte extravasation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(4):1007-1019.
The endothelial cell monolayer of cerebral vessels and its basement membrane (BM) are ensheathed by the astrocyte endfeet, the leptomeningeal cells, and their associated parenchymal BM, all of which contribute to establishment of the blood–brain barrier (BBB). As a consequence of this unique structure, leukocyte penetration of cerebral vessels is a multistep event. In mouse experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a widely used central nervous system inflammatory model, leukocytes first penetrate the endothelial cell monolayer and underlying BM using integrin β1-mediated processes, but mechanisms used to penetrate the second barrier defined by the parenchymal BM and glia limitans remain uninvestigated. We show here that macrophage-derived gelatinase (matrix metalloproteinase [MMP]-2 and MMP-9) activity is crucial for leukocyte penetration of the parenchymal BM. Dystroglycan, a transmembrane receptor that anchors astrocyte endfeet to the parenchymal BM via high affinity interactions with laminins 1 and 2, perlecan and agrin, is identified as a specific substrate of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Ablation of both MMP-2 and MMP-9 in double knockout mice confers resistance to EAE by inhibiting dystroglycan cleavage and preventing leukocyte infiltration. This is the first description of selective in situ proteolytic damage of a BBB-specific molecule at sites of leukocyte infiltration.
PMCID: PMC2118280  PMID: 16585265
2.  Sialoadhesin-Positive Macrophages Bind Regulatory T Cells, Negatively Controlling their Expansion and Autoimmune Disease Progression1 
An important regulatory suppressive function in autoimmune and other inflammatory processes has been ascribed to CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs), which requires direct cell-cell communication between Tregs, effector T cells (Teff) and antigen presenting cells. However, the molecular basis for these interactions has not yet been clarified. We show here that sialoadhesin (Sn), the prototype of the siglec family of sialic acid binding transmembrane proteins, expressed by resident and activated tissue-infiltrating macrophages, directly binds to Tregs, negatively regulating their expansion in an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In this model, macrophages infiltrate the central nervous system (CNS) exhibiting tissue destructing and demyelinating activity, leading to MS-like symptoms. We show here that severity of EAE symptoms is reduced in Sn knock-out (KO) mice compared to WT littermates, due to an upregulation of CD4+Foxp3+ Treg lymphocytes. Through the use of a Sn fusion protein, Tregs were shown to express substantial amounts of Sn ligand on their cell surface and direct interaction of Sn+ macrophages with Tregs specifically inhibited Treg but not Teff lymphocyte proliferation. Conversely, blocking of Sn on macrophages by Sn-specific antibodies resulted in elevated proliferation of Treg cells. Data indicate that Sn+ macrophages regulate Treg homeostasis which subsequently influences EAE progression. We propose a new direct cell-cell interaction based mechanism regulating the expansion of the Treg cells during the immune response, representing a “dialogue” between Sn+ macrophages and Sn accessible sialic acid residues on Treg lymphocytes.
PMCID: PMC3733067  PMID: 19414805
3.  Dynamics of extracellular matrix in ovarian follicles and corpora lutea of mice 
Cell and Tissue Research  2009;339(3):613-624.
Despite the mouse being an important laboratory species, little is known about changes in its extracellular matrix (ECM) during follicle and corpora lutea formation and regression. Follicle development was induced in mice (29 days of age/experimental day 0) by injections of pregnant mare’s serum gonadotrophin on days 0 and 1 and ovulation was induced by injection of human chorionic gonadotrophin on day 2. Ovaries were collected for immunohistochemistry (n=10 per group) on days 0, 2 and 5. Another group was mated and ovaries were examined on day 11 (n=7). Collagen type IV α1 and α2, laminin α1, β1 and γ1 chains, nidogens 1 and 2 and perlecan were present in the follicular basal lamina of all developmental stages. Collagen type XVIII was only found in basal lamina of primordial, primary and some preantral follicles, whereas laminin α2 was only detected in some preantral and antral follicles. The focimatrix, a specialised matrix of the membrana granulosa, contained collagen type IV α1 and α2, laminin α1, β1 and γ1 chains, nidogens 1 and 2, perlecan and collagen type XVIII. In the corpora lutea, staining was restricted to capillary sub-endothelial basal laminas containing collagen type IV α1 and α2, laminin α1, β1 and γ1 chains, nidogens 1 and 2, perlecan and collagen type XVIII. Laminins α4 and α5 were not immunolocalised to any structure in the mouse ovary. The ECM composition of the mouse ovary has similarities to, but also major differences from, other species with respect to nidogens 1 and 2 and perlecan.
PMCID: PMC2831189  PMID: 20033213
Follicle; Corpus luteum; Extracellular matrix; Collagen; Laminin; Perlecan; Nidogen; Mouse (CBAxC57BL/6F1)
4.  Compositional Differences between Infant and Adult Human Corneal Basement Membranes 
Adult human corneal epithelial basement membrane (EBM) and Descemet's membrane (DM) components exhibit heterogeneous distribution. The purpose of the study was to identify changes of these components during postnatal corneal development.
Thirty healthy adult corneas and 10 corneas from 12-day- to 3-year-old children were studied by immunofluorescence with antibodies against BM components.
Type IV collagen composition of infant corneal central EBM over Bowman's layer changed from α1-α2 to α3-α4 chains after 3 years of life; in the adult, α1-α2 chains were retained only in the limbal BM. Laminin α2 and β2 chains were present in the adult limbal BM where epithelial stem cells are located. By 3 years of age, β2 chain appeared in the limbal BM. In all corneas, limbal BM contained laminin γ3 chain. In the infant DM, type IV collagen α1-α6 chains, perlecan, nidogen-1, nidogen-2, and netrin-4 were found on both faces, but they remained only on the endothelial face of the adult DM. The stromal face of the infant but not the adult DM was positive for tenascin-C, fibrillin-1, SPARC, and laminin-332. Type VIII collagen shifted from the endothelial face of infant DM to its stromal face in the adult. Matrilin-4 largely disappeared after the age of 3 years.
The distribution of laminin γ3 chain, nidogen-2, netrin-4, matrilin-2, and matrilin-4 is described in the cornea for the first time. The observed differences between adult and infant corneal BMs may relate to changes in their mechanical strength, corneal cell adhesion and differentiation in the process of postnatal corneal maturation.
PMCID: PMC2151758  PMID: 17962449
5.  Endothelial Cell Laminin Isoforms, Laminins 8 and 10, Play Decisive Roles in T Cell Recruitment across the Blood–Brain Barrier in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;153(5):933-946.
An active involvement of blood–brain barrier endothelial cell basement membranes in development of inflammatory lesions in the central nervous system (CNS) has not been considered to date. Here we investigated the molecular composition and possible function of the extracellular matrix encountered by extravasating T lymphocytes during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).
Endothelial basement membranes contained laminin 8 (α4β1γ1) and/or 10 (α5β1γ1) and their expression was influenced by proinflammatory cytokines or angiostatic agents. T cells emigrating into the CNS during EAE encountered two biochemically distinct basement membranes, the endothelial (containing laminins 8 and 10) and the parenchymal (containing laminins 1 and 2) basement membranes. However, inflammatory cuffs occurred exclusively around endothelial basement membranes containing laminin 8, whereas in the presence of laminin 10 no infiltration was detectable. In vitro assays using encephalitogenic T cell lines revealed adhesion to laminins 8 and 10, whereas binding to laminins 1 and 2 could not be induced. Downregulation of integrin α6 on cerebral endothelium at sites of T cell infiltration, plus a high turnover of laminin 8 at these sites, suggested two possible roles for laminin 8 in the endothelial basement membrane: one at the level of the endothelial cells resulting in reduced adhesion and, thereby, increased penetrability of the monolayer; and secondly at the level of the T cells providing direct signals to the transmigrating cells.
PMCID: PMC2174323  PMID: 11381080
laminin; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; endothelium; basement membranes; inflammation

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