Friday, August 08, 2008

Astrocyte gp130 Expression Is Critical for the Control of Toxoplasma Encephalitis

J Immunol. 2008 Aug 15;181(4):2683-93

Astrocyte gp130 Expression Is Critical for the Control of Toxoplasma Encephalitis

Drögemüller K, Helmuth U, Brunn A, Sakowicz-Burkiewicz M, Gutmann DH, Mueller W, Deckert M, Schlüter D.

Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität, Magdeburg, Germany;

Toxoplasma gondii infects astrocytes, neurons and microglia cells in the CNS and, after acute encephalitis, persists within neurons. Robust astrocyte activation is a hallmark of Toxoplasma encephalitis (TE); however, the in vivo function of astrocytes is largely unknown. To study their role in TE we generated C57BL/6 GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) mice (where GFAP is glial fibrillary acid protein), which lack gp130, the signal-transducing receptor for IL-6 family cytokines, in their astrocytes. In the TE of wild-type mice, the gp130 ligands IL-6, IL-11, IL-27, LIF, oncostatin M, ciliary neurotrophic factor, B cell stimulating factor, and cardiotrophin-1 were up-regulated. In addition, GFAP(+) astrocytes of gp130(fl/fl) control mice were activated, increased in number, and efficiently restricted inflammatory lesions and parasites, thereby contributing to survival from TE. In contrast, T. gondii- infected GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) mice lost GFAP(+) astrocytes in inflammatory lesions resulting in an inefficient containment of inflammatory lesions, impaired parasite control, and, ultimately, a lethal necrotizing TE. Production of IFN-gamma and the IFN-gamma-induced GTPase (IGTP), which mediate parasite control in astrocytes, was even increased in GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) mice, indicating that instead of the direct antiparasitic effect the immunoregulatory function of GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) astrocytes was disturbed. Correspondingly, in vitro infected GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) astrocytes inhibited the growth of T. gondii efficiently after stimulation with IFN-gamma, whereas neighboring noninfected and TNF-stimulated GFAP-Cre gp130(fl/fl) astrocytes became apoptotic. Collectively, these are the first experiments demonstrating a crucial function of astrocytes in CNS infection.

PMID: 18684959 [PubMed - in process]

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