Neurodegeneration mediates neurological disability in inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the CNS. The role of innate immune cells in mediating this damage has remained controversial with evidence for destructive and protective effects. This has complicated efforts to develop treatment. The time sequence and dynamic evolution of the opposing functions are especially unclear. Given limits of in vivo monitoring in human diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), animal models are warranted to investigate the association and timing of innate immune activation with neurodegeneration. Using noninvasive in vivo retinal imaging of experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE) in CX3CR1GFP/+–knock-in mice followed by transcriptional profiling, we are able to show 2 distinct waves separated by a marked reduction in the number of innate immune cells and change in cell morphology. The first wave is characterized by an inflammatory phagocytic phenotype preceding the onset of EAE, whereas the second wave is characterized by a regulatory, antiinflammatory phenotype during the chronic stage. Additionally, the magnitude of the first wave is associated with neuronal loss. Two transcripts identified — growth arrest–specific protein 6 (GAS6) and suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) — might be promising targets for enhancing protective effects of microglia in the chronic phase after initial injury.
Andrés Cruz-Herranz, Frederike C. Oertel, Kicheol Kim, Ester Cantó, Garrett Timmons, Jung H. Sin, Michael Devereux, Nicholas Baker, Brady Michel, Ryan D. Schubert, Lakshmisahithi Rani, Christian Cordano, Sergio E. Baranzini, Ari J. Green
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.