To determine the possible involvement of protease M/neurosin in demyelinating diseases of the CNS, we examined its expression in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a recognized animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). In situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) demonstrated that EAE caused an increase in the expression of protease M/neurosin mRNA and its protein product throughout the white and gray matter surrounding demyelinating lesions. Combined in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that most of the cells expressing protease M/neurosin mRNA within control spinal cord showed immunoreactivity for CNPase or NG2, cell-specific markers for oligodendrocytes and their progenitors, respectively. In the spinal cord from mice with EAE, the expression of protease M/neurosin mRNA in CNPase-positive cells appeared to be increased while double-labeled cells positive for protease M/neurosin mRNA and NG2 were rarely found in areas associated with demyelinating lesions. Although a prominent accumulation of inflammatory cells including T-cells was observed in the vicinity of demyelinated lesions, these cells were not associated with protease M/neurosin mRNA expression. The levels of protease M/neurosin mRNA expression were unchanged in the spleen and even decreased in the thymus during the course of EAE. These observations suggest that the differential expression of protease M/neurosin in mature oligodendrocytes and their progenitors is involved in the pathogenesis of MS and EAE.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Serine protease
ASJC Scopus subject areas