MHC II expression in the cns after long-term demyelination

Barbara Cannella, Dennis A. Aquino, Cedric S. Raine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The ability of chronically demyelinated central nervous system (CNS) tissue to express major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules has been measured in mouse spinal cord cultures exposed for 1 and 3 weeks to demye-linating anti-white matter (WM) serum. From previous studies, it was known that after 3 weeks of demyelination in vitro, such cultures are incapable of remyelination. In the present report, MHC II levels were evaluated by immunocytochemistry and by Western and Northern blots. The results have shown that after both 1 and 3 weeks of exposure to myelinotoxic anti-WM serum, the cultures retained the ability to express MHC II and this could be further upregulated by incubation with interferon 7 (IFN-y). Control groups showed increased expression of MHC II with age. By immunocytochemistry, all groups of cultures expressed high levels of MHC II and all groups showed upregulation after IFN7 treatment. Anti-WM-treated cultures demonstrated slightly higher levels of MHC II than controls. Morphologically, the MHC II expression was associated with the surface of astrocytes. Semiquantitative analysis by Western blotting confirmed the increase in class II MHC expression in the long-term treated cultures after IFN-y exposure, revealing no differences between anti-WM-treated and complement-treated cultures. This was also supported by Northern blotting which showed similar mRNA levels in both groups. These findings suggest that long-term demyelinated CNS tissue still possesses the ability to interact with CD4+ T cells, observations of significance to the expansion of the chronic multiple sclerosis lesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1995


  • Astrocytes
  • Class ii MHC
  • Demyelination
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Western and northern blotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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