FLT-3 expression and function on microglia in multiple sclerosis

Cynthia A. DeBoy, Horea Rus, Cosmin Tegla, Cornelia Cudrici, Melina V. Jones, Carlos A. Pardo, Donald Small, Katharine A. Whartenby, Peter A. Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Inflammatory cell infiltration and resident microglial activation within the central nervous system (CNS) are pathological events in multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). While MS therapies target the peripheral immune system, no treatment is currently known to also modulate microglia. FMS-like tyrosine-3 (FLT-3) is expressed on hematopoietic and dendritic cells. We reported that FLT-3 inhibition ameliorates early actively induced EAE by predominantly modulating dendritic cell function as compared to microglia. We demonstrate in this report that FLT-3 is expressed in perivascular cuffs, brain parenchyma and in non-lesioned gray and white matter within MS brain but not in these regions within control brain. Furthermore, we demonstrate that FLT-3 is expressed on two populations of cells within MS brain; one which expresses the dendritic cell marker CD209, and the other which does not, suggesting that FLT-3 within MS brain is expressed on infiltrating dendritic cells and a non-dendritic cell such as microglia. Additionally, we report that FLT-3 inhibition in murine microglia blocks, in a dose-dependent manner, IFN-γ-induced expression of MHC class II and CD86, and LPS-induced secretion of IL-6. These data suggest that FLT-3 is involved in microglial cells' capacity to respond to environmental cues to function as antigen presenting cells and mediate CNS inflammation. Furthermore these data suggest that FLT-3 may be a therapeutic target on microglia to mitigate CNS inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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