Interferon-gamma-modified dendritic cells suppress B cell function and ameliorate the development of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis

Clin Exp Immunol. 2004 Nov;138(2):230-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2004.02585.x.


This study was designed to investigate the therapeutic effects of interferon (IFN)-gamma-modulated dendritic cells (DC) in experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG). We induced EAMG in Lewis rats by immunization with Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) and adjuvant. On day 33 post-immunization (p.i.), splenic DC were prepared, exposed to IFN-gamma alone (IFN-gamma-DC) or to IFN-gamma in combination with 1-methyl-DL-tryptophan (1-MT), the specific inhibitor of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) (IFN-gamma + 1-MT-DC), and injected subcutaneously into rats with incipient EAMG on day 5 p.i. A control group of EAMG rats received naive DC on day 5 p.i., while another group received 1-MT every other day, intraperitoneally (p.i.), from days 5 to 41 p.i. The severity of clinical signs of EAMG was reduced dramatically in IFN-gamma-DC-treated rats compared to rats receiving naive DC, IFN-gamma + 1-MT-DC or 1-MT alone. The number of plasma cells secreting nAChR antibodies was reduced and the expression of B cell activation factor (BAFF) on splenic and lymph node mononuclear cells (MNC) was down-regulated in rats treated with IFN-gamma-DC. In vitro co-culture of MNC derived from EAMG rats with IFN-gamma-DC produced relatively few cells secreting nAChR antibodies. Addition of 1-MT to the co-culture significantly increased the number of cells secreting nAChR antibodies. We conclude that IFN-gamma-DC reduced the number of plasma cells secreting nAChR antibodies in an IDO-dependent manner and ameliorated the development of EAMG in Lewis rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Division / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Membrane Proteins / immunology
  • Myasthenia Gravis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / immunology
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tryptophan / analogs & derivatives*
  • Tryptophan / immunology
  • Tryptophan Oxygenase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / immunology


  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • Indoleamine-Pyrrole 2,3,-Dioxygenase
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Tryptophan
  • Tryptophan Oxygenase