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Critical Role of the Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) Pathway in Regulation of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Journal of Experimental Medicine
The Rockefeller University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1084/jem.20022119
  • Article
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is mediated by autoantigen-specific T cells dependent on critical costimulatory signals for their full activation and regulation. We report that the programmed death-1 (PD-1) costimulatory pathway plays a critical role in regulating peripheral tolerance in murine EAE and appears to be a major contributor to the resistance of disease induction in CD28-deficient mice. After immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) there was a progressive increase in expression of PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1 but not PD-L2 within the central nervous system (CNS) of mice with EAE, peaking after 3 wk. In both wild-type (WT) and CD28-deficient mice, PD-1 blockade resulted in accelerated and more severe disease with increased CNS lymphocyte infiltration. Worsening of disease after PD-1 blockade was associated with a heightened autoimmune response to MOG, manifested by increased frequency of interferon γ–producing T cells, increased delayed-type hypersensitivity responses, and higher serum levels of anti-MOG antibody. In vivo blockade of PD-1 resulted in increased antigen-specific T cell expansion, activation, and cytokine production. Interestingly, PD-L2 but not PD-L1 blockade in WT animals also resulted in disease augmentation. Our data are the first demonstration that the PD-1 pathway plays a critical role in regulating EAE.

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