Previous studies using mast cell-deficient mice (W/Wv) revealed that mast cells influence disease onset and severity of experimental allergic/autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the murine model for multiple sclerosis. The mast cell populations of these mice can be restored by transferring bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). Studies using the W/W v reconstitution model have lead to major advances in our understanding of mast cell roles in vivo. However, despite its common use, details regarding the sites and kinetics of mast cell repopulation have remained largely uncharacterized. In this study, we examined the kinetics and tissue distribution of green fluorescent protein+ BMMCs in reconstituted W/Wv mice to identify sites of mast cell influence in EAE. Reconstitution of naive animals with BMMCs does not restore mast cell populations to all organs, notably the brain, spinal cord, lymph nodes, and heart. Despite the absence of mast cells in the CNS, reconstituted mice exhibit an EAE disease course equivalent to that induced in wild-type mice. Mast cells are found adjacent to T cell-rich areas of the spleen and can migrate to the draining lymph node after disease induction. These data reveal that mast cells can act outside the CNS to influence EAE, perhaps by affecting the function of autoreactive lymphocytes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy