Early Cytokine Elevation, PrPres Deposition, and Gliosis in Mouse Scrapie: No Effect on Disease by Deletion of Cytokine Genes IL-12p40 and IL-12p35

Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 07/2012; 86(19):10377-83. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.01340-12
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neurodegenerative diseases are typically associated with an activation of glia and an increased level of cytokines. In our previous studies of prion disease, the cytokine response in the brains of clinically sick scrapie-infected mice was restricted to a small group of cytokines, of which IL-12p40, CCL2, and CXCL10 were present at the highest levels. The goal of our current research was to determine the relationship between cytokine responses, gliosis, and neuropathology during prion disease. Here, in time course studies of C57BL/10 mice intracerebrally inoculated with 22L scrapie, abnormal protease-resistant prion protein (PrPres), astrogliosis, and microgliosis were first detected at 40 days after intracerebral scrapie inoculation. In cytokine studies, IL-12p40 was first elevated by 60 days; CCL3, IL-1β, and CXCL1 were elevated by 80 days; and CCL2 and CCL5 were elevated by 115 days. IL-12p40 showed the most extensive increase throughout disease and was 30-fold above control levels at the terminal stage. Because of the early onset and dramatic elevation of IL-12p40 during scrapie, we investigated whether IL-12p40 contributed to the development of prion disease neuropathogenesis by using three different scrapie strains (22L, RML, 79A) to infect knockout mice in which the gene encoding IL-12p40 was deleted. We also studied knockout mice lacking IL-12p35, which combines with IL-12p40 to form active IL-12 heterodimers. In all instances, knockout mice did not differ from control mice in survival time, clinical tempo, or levels of spongiosis, gliosis, or PrPres in the brain. Thus, neither IL-12p40 nor IL-12p35 molecules were required for prion disease-associated neurodegeneration or neuroinflammation.

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