GM-CSF has been portrayed as a critical cytokine in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and, ostensibly, in multiple sclerosis. C57BL/6 mice deficient in GM-CSF are resistant to EAE induced by immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35-55 The mechanism of action of GM-CSF in EAE is poorly understood. In this study, we show that GM-CSF augments the accumulation of MOG35-55-specific T cells in the skin draining lymph nodes of primed mice, but it is not required for the development of encephalitogenic T cells. Abrogation of GM-CSF receptor signaling in adoptive transfer recipients of MOG35-55-specific T cells did not alter the incidence of EAE or the trajectory of its initial clinical course, but it limited the extent of chronic CNS tissue damage and neurologic disability. The attenuated clinical course was associated with a relative dearth of MOG35-55-specific T cells, myeloid dendritic cells, and neutrophils, as well as an abundance of B cells, within CNS infiltrates. Our data indicate that GM-CSF drives chronic tissue damage and disability in EAE via pleiotropic pathways, but it is dispensable during early lesion formation and the onset of neurologic deficits.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.