Bioenergetics of the spinal cord in experimental autoimmune encephalitis of rats

Mariam Al-Shamsi, Allen Shahin, Marwa F. Ibrahim, Saeed Tareq, Abdul Kader Souid, Eric P.K. Mensah-Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mitochondrial dysregulation is important in axonal damage and demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). There is however, no evidence in the literature of any study that has examined cellular bioenergetics of the central nervous system (CNS) during the early development and clinical course of EAE. EAE, a rodent model of relapsing/remitting MS, is a CD4+ T cell-mediated disease of the CNS. We hypothesize that CNS bioenergetics might predict prognosis, and that preserved bioenergetics might underlie the remission from disease. The study aims therefore, to determine whether the clinical history of EAE is influenced by cellular respiration of the CNS in susceptible Dark Agouti (DA) and resistant Albino Oxford (AO) rats. Methods: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis was induced by myelin basic protein in complete Freud Adjuvant in the footpads of DA and AO rats. A phosphorescence analyzer that determines cellular respiration was used to monitor oxygen consumption and ATP concentration was measured using the Enliten ATP assay system. Disease pathology was demonstrated by H&E and Luxol fast blue staining of sections of the lumbar regions of the spinal cord. Mitochondrial size in relation to axonal size was determined by electron microscopy. Apoptosis was studied by HPLC measurement of intracellular caspase-3 activity and caspase immunohistochemistry. Role and source of caspase 1 was studied by double immunofluorescence with antibodies for caspase-1, microglia (anti-Iba1) and astrocytes (anti-GFAP). Results: The cellular respiration of the CNS did not vary between diseased and normal rats. We also demonstrate here, that at the peak of disease, inflammation as shown by caspase-1, produced by activated microglia and infiltrating cells, was significant in susceptible DA rats. The mitochondrial:axonal size ratio did not vary in the different groups although mitochondria were smaller in spinal cords of diseased DA rats. Demyelination, observed only in areas of mononuclear infiltration of the spinal cord of diseased DA rats, was demonstrated by light microscopy and electron microscopy. Conclusion: We conclude that EAE at this early stage does not significantly affect CNS cellular respiration and this might underlie the reason for the recovery of diseased rats.

Original languageEnglish
Article number37
JournalBMC Neuroscience
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 20 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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