Direct demonstration of the infiltration of murine central nervous system by Pgp-1/CD44high CD45RB(low) CD4+ T cells that induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis

J Neuroimmunol. 1992 Sep;40(1):57-69. doi: 10.1016/0165-5728(92)90213-5.


In experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), autoimmune T cells infiltrate the central nervous system (CNS) and initiate demyelinating pathology. We have used flow cytometry to directly analyse the migration to the CNS of MBP-reactive CD4+ T cells labelled with a lipophilic fluorescent dye (PKH2), in SJL/J mice with passively transferred EAE. Labelled cells constituted about 45% of the CNS CD4+ population at the time of EAE onset. Almost all (greater than 90%) of the PKH2-labelled CD4+ T cells from EAE CNS were blasts and were alpha/beta T cell receptor (TCR)+, CD44(Pgp-1)high, and the majority were CD45RB(low). By contrast, most PKH2-labelled CD4+ T cells in lymph nodes, although CD44high, were CD45RBhigh cells. The cells that were transferred to induce EAE were essentially similar to antigen-primed lymph node cell populations, containing less than 15% CD44high cells, and most of them were CD45RBhigh. The CD44high CD45RB(low) phenotype is characteristic of memory/effector T cells that have been activated by antigen recognition. The difference in CD45RB expression between CNS and LN could therefore reflect differential exposure and/or response to antigen. Consistent with this, PKH2-labelled CD4+ cells isolated from the CNS were responsive to MBP in vitro, whereas PKH2+ CD4+ cells from lymph nodes showed almost undetectable responses. In control experiments in which ovalbumin (OVA)-reactive T cells were transferred, a small number of fluorescent-labelled CD4+ T cells were also detected in CNS, but there were very few blasts, and these remained CD45RBhigh. These results argue for induction of the memory/effector phenotype of CD4+ T cells, and their selective retention in the CNS, as a consequence of antigen recognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / analysis*
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis*
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Separation
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology*
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens / analysis*
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / physiology
  • Mice
  • Myelin Basic Protein / pharmacology
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Ovalbumin / pharmacology
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing / analysis*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / transplantation


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD4 Antigens
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Histocompatibility Antigens
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Organic Chemicals
  • PKH-2
  • Receptors, Lymphocyte Homing
  • Ovalbumin
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens