Neuromyelitis optica IgG and natural killer cells produce NMO lesions in mice without myelin loss

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, 1246 Health Sciences East Tower, San Francisco, CA 94143-0521, USA.
Acta Neuropathologica (Impact Factor: 10.76). 04/2012; 123(6):861-72. DOI: 10.1007/s00401-012-0986-4
Source: PubMed


The pathogenesis of neuromyelitis optica (NMO) involves targeting of NMO-immunoglobulin G (NMO-IgG) to aquaporin-4 (AQP4) on astrocytes in the central nervous system. Prior work provided evidence for complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) in NMO lesion development. Here, we show that antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), in the absence of complement, can also produce NMO-like lesions. Antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity was produced in vitro by incubation of mouse astrocyte cultures with human recombinant monoclonal NMO-IgG and human natural killer cells (NK-cells). Injection of NMO-IgG and NK-cells in mouse brain caused loss of AQP4 and GFAP, two characteristic features of NMO lesions, but little myelin loss. Lesions were minimal or absent following injection of: (1) control (non-NMO) IgG with NK-cells; (2) NMO-IgG and NK-cells in AQP4-deficient mice; or (3) NMO-IgG and NK-cells in wild-type mice together with an excess of mutated NMO-IgG lacking ADCC effector function. NK-cells greatly exacerbated NMO lesions produced by NMO-IgG and complement in an ex vivo spinal cord slice model of NMO, causing marked myelin loss. NMO-IgG can thus produce astrocyte injury by ADCC in a complement-independent and dependent manner, suggesting the potential involvement of ADCC in NMO pathogenesis.

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Available from: Samira Saadoun
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    ABSTRACT: Neuromyelitis optica is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the CNS. The discovery of circulating IgG1 antibodies against the astrocyte water channel protein aquaporin 4 (AQP4) and the evidence that AQP4-IgG is involved in the development of neuromyelitis optica revolutionised our understanding of the disease. However, important unanswered questions remain--for example, we do not know the cause of AQP4-IgG-negative disease, how astrocyte damage causes demyelination, the role of T cells, why peripheral AQP4-expressing organs are undamaged, and how circulating AQP4-IgG enters neuromyelitis optica lesions. New drug candidates have emerged, such as aquaporumab (non-pathogenic antibody blocker of AQP4-IgG binding), sivelestat (neutrophil elastase inhibitor), and eculizumab (complement inhibitor). Despite rapid progress, randomised clinical trials to test new drugs will be challenging because of the small number of individuals with the disorder.
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    ABSTRACT: Neuromyelitis optica is a severe inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Most patients with neuromyelitis optica have circulating immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the astrocytic water channel protein aquaporin-4 (AQP4), which are pathogenic. Anti-AQP4 IgG-mediated complement-dependent astrocyte toxicity is a key mechanism of central nervous system damage in neuromyelitis optica, but the role of natural killer and cytotoxic T cells is unknown. Our objective was to determine whether natural killer and cytotoxic T cells play a role in human neuromyelitis optica lesions. We immunostained four actively demyelinating lesions, obtained from patients with anti-AQP4 IgG positive neuromyelitis optica, for Granzyme B and Perforin. The inflammatory cells were perivascular neutrophils, eosinophils and macrophages, with only occasional Granzyme B+ or Perforin+ cells. Greater than 95% of inflamed vessels in each lesion had no surrounding Granzyme B+ or Perforin+ cells. Granzyme B+ or Perforin+ cells were abundant in human spleen (positive control). Although natural killer cells produce central nervous system damage in mice injected with anti-AQP4 IgG, our findings here indicate that natural killer-mediated and T cell-mediated cytotoxicity are probably not involved in central nervous system damage in human neuromyelitis optica.
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