Multiple sclerosis (MS) brain tissue, spleen, and PBMC were studied using immunocytochemistry and FACS for immunoreactivity for lymphotoxin (LT) and TNF. Both cytokines were identified in acute and chronic active MS lesions but were absent from chronic silent lesions. LT was associated with CD3+ lymphocytes and Leu-M5+ microglia cells at the lesion edge and to a lesser extent, in adjacent white matter. TNF was associated with astrocytes in all areas of the lesion, and with foamy macrophages in the center of the active lesion. In acute lesions, immunoreactivity for TNF in endothelial cells was noted at the lesion edge. No LT or TNF reactivity was detected in Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease brain tissues but was present at lower levels in central nervous system (CNS) tissue from other inflammatory conditions, except for adrenoleucodystrophy which displayed high levels of LT in microglia. No increase in LT and TNF reactivity was detected in spleen and PBMC of MS patients suggesting specific reactivity within the CNS. These results indicate that LT and TNF may be involved in the immunopathogenesis of MS, and can be detected in both inflammatory cells and cells endogenous to the CNS.
K Selmaj, C S Raine, B Cannella, C F Brosnan
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