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Immunology and Infection

Adjuvant Activity of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis in Enhancing the Immunogenicity of Autoantigens During Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis

Published: May 12th, 2023



1Department of Neurology, Juntendo University, 2Biomedical Research Core Facilities, Juntendo University, 3Neurodegenerative Disorders Collaborative laboratory, RIKEN Center for Brain Science

Here, we present an alternative protocol to actively induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in C57BL/6 mice, using the immunogenic epitope myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)35-55 suspended in incomplete Freund's adjuvant containing the heat-killed Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis.

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) requires immunization by a MOG peptide emulsified in complete Freund's adjuvant (CFA) containing inactivated Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The antigenic components of the mycobacterium activate dendritic cells to stimulate T-cells to produce cytokines that promote the Th1 response via toll-like receptors. Therefore, the amount and species of mycobacteria present during the antigenic challenge are directly related to the development of EAE. This methods paper presents an alternative protocol to induce EAE in C57BL/6 mice using a modified incomplete Freund's adjuvant containing the heat-killed Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis strain K-10.

M. paratuberculosis, a member of the Mycobacterium avium complex, is the causative agent of Johne's disease in ruminants and has been identified as a risk factor for several human T-cell-mediated disorders, including multiple sclerosis. Overall, mice immunized with Mycobacterium paratuberculosis showed earlier onset and greater disease severity than mice immunized with CFA containing the strain of M. tuberculosis H37Ra at the same doses of 4 mg/mL. The antigenic determinants of Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) strain K-10 were able to induce a strong Th1 cellular response during the effector phase, characterized by significantly higher numbers of T-lymphocytes (CD4+ CD27+), dendritic cells (CD11c+ I-A/I-E+), and monocytes (CD11b+ CD115+) in the spleen compared to mice immunized with CFA. Furthermore, the proliferative T-cell response to the MOG peptide appeared to be highest in M. paratuberculosis-immunized mice. The use of an encephalitogen (e.g., MOG35-55) emulsified in an adjuvant containing M. paratuberculosis in the formulation may be an alternative and validated method to activate dendritic cells for priming myelin epitope-specific CD4+ T-cells during the induction phase of EAE.

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a common model for the study of human demyelinating disorders1. There are several models of EAE: active immunization using different myelin peptides in combination with potent adjuvants, passive immunization by in vitro transfer of myelin-specific CD4+ lymphocytes, and transgenic models of spontaneous EAE2. Each of these models has specific features that allow different aspects of EAE to be studied, such as the onset, effector phase, or chronic phase. The myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) model of EAE is a good model to study the immune-mediat....

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All mouse experiments were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the Juntendo University School of Medicine (Approval Number 290238) and were conducted in accordance with the National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Animal Experimentation.

1. General comments on the experiment

  1. House the mice in individual cages in the animal facility under controlled, pathogen-free conditions at 23 °C ± 2 °C with 50% ± 10% humidity, .......

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Groups of C57BL/6 mice (total n = 15/group) were immunized with MOG35-55 in an emulsion containing M. paratuberculosis or by the common method with CFA. All groups of mice manifested an acute monophasic disease characterized by a single peak of disability observed at 14-17 days, followed by a partial recovery of symptoms over the next 10 days (Figure 1A). Mice immunized with the adjuvant containing M. paratuberculosis, irrespectiv.......

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We demonstrated a robust alternative protocol to actively induce severe EAE in C57BL/6J mice using the peptide MOG35-55 emulsified in an adjuvant containing M. paratuberculosis10. The induction of EAE by this method resulted in a more severe disease than that induced by the common protocol with CFA. This difference could be due to the different lipidic components in the cell wall of the mycobacteria11. In fact, unlike other mycobacteria, M. paratuber.......

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This work received support from a grant from the Japanese Society for the promotion of Science (grant no. JP 23K14675).


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
anti-mouse CD115 antibody Biolegend, USA 135505 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse CD11b antibody Biolegend, USA 101215 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse CD11c antibody Biolegend, USA 117313 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse CD16/32  antibody Biolegend, USA 101302 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse CD4  antibody Biolegend, USA 116004 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse CD8a  antibody Biolegend, USA 100753 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse I-A/I-E antibody Biolegend, USA 107635 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
anti-mouse Ly-6C  antibody Biolegend, USA 128023 for cytofluorimetry 1:1,000
BBL Middlebrook OADC Enrichment Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA BD 211886 for isolation and cultivation of mycobacteria
C57BL/6J mice Charles River Laboratory, Japan 3 weeks old, male and female
FBS 10279-106 Gibco Life Techologies, USA 42F9155K for cell culture, warm at 37 °C before use
Freeze Dryer machine Eyela, Tokyo, Japan FDU-1200 for bacteria lyophilization
incomplete e Freund’s adjuvant Difco Laboratories, MD, USA 263810 for use in adjuvant
Middlebrook 7H9 Broth Difco Laboratories, MD, USA 90003-876 help in the growth of Mycobacteria
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis K-10 ATCC, USA BAA-968 bacteria from bovine origin
Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37 Ra, Desiccated BD Biosciences, USA 743-26880-EA for use in adjuvant
Mycobactin J Allied Laboratory, MO, USA growth promoter
Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycolipid (MOG) 35-55 AnaSpec, USA AS-60130-10 encephalotigenic peptide
Ovalbumin (257-264) Sigma-Aldrich, USA S7951-1MG negative control antigen  for proliferative assay
pertussis toxin solution Fujifilm Wako, Osaka Japan 168-22471 From gram-negative bacteria Bordetella pertussi, increases blood-brain barrier permeability
Polytron homogenizer PT 3100 Kinematica for mixing the antigen with the adjuvant
RPMI 1640 with L-glutamine Gibco Life Techologies, USA 11875093 For cell culture
Thymidine, [Methyl-3H], in 2% ethanol, 1 mCi PerkinElmer, Waltham, MA, USA NET027W001MC for proliferation assay, use (1 μCi/well)
Zombie NIR Fixable Viability Kit Biolegend, USA 423105  cytofluorimetry, for cell viability

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