Age-related changes in the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Yanina Ditamo, Alicia L. Degano, Daniela R. Maccio, Maria Cristina Pistoresi-Palencia, German A. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A prominent feature of multiple sclerosis is its high incidence of onset in the third decade of life and its relatively rare onset in persons older than 50 years. In order to study age-related restriction of clinical expression, a comparative biochemical, immunological and histological study was undertaken during development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in young (7 weeks) and middle-aged (15 months) Wistar rats. Young rats showed characteristic clinical signs 12-16 days postinduction, and then they spontaneously recuperated. In middle-aged rats, the incidence of clinical signs was significantly reduced, with a later onset of the disease. Similar biochemical and histological alterations were detected in both age groups, but they were present in a later stage in middle-aged animals. However, cellular and humoral immune responses to myelin basic protein (MBP) were observed 15 days postinduction in all EAE animals. The study of anti-MBP IgG isotype pattern in 7-week-old animals indicated a predominant Th1-type immune response during the acute stage of EAE, with antibodies predominantly recognizing the MBP 96-128 peptide. In contrast, 15-month-old animals showed a less prominent Th1 response, without any epitope dominance. The changes in immune function found in middle-aged animals may account for the different susceptibility and expression of EAE, and may also be relevant to the different clinical expression observed in multiple sclerosis with maturation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-82
Number of pages8
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Demyelination
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelin basic protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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