Blockade of MCAM/CD146 impedes CNS infiltration of T cells over the choroid plexus

Johanna Breuer, Eva Korpos, Melanie Jane Hannocks, Tilman Schneider-Hohendorf, Jian Song, Lisa Zondler, Sebastian Herich, Ken Flanagan, Thomas Korn, Alexander Zarbock, Tanja Kuhlmann, Lydia Sorokin, Heinz Wiendl, Nicholas Schwab

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34 Scopus citations


Background: Very late antigen 4 (VLA-4; integrin α4β1) is critical for transmigration of T helper (T H ) 1 cells into the central nervous system (CNS) under inflammatory conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). We have previously shown that VLA-4 and melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MCAM) are important for trans-endothelial migration of human T H 17 cells in vitro and here investigate their contribution to pathogenic CNS inflammation. Methods: Antibody blockade of VLA-4 and MCAM is assessed in murine models of CNS inflammation in conjunction with conditional ablation of α4-integrin expression in T cells. Effects of VLA-4 and MCAM blockade on lymphocyte migration are further investigated in the human system via in vitro T cell transmigration assays. Results: Compared to the broad effects of VLA-4 blockade on encephalitogenic T cell migration over endothelial barriers, MCAM blockade impeded encephalitogenic T cell migration in murine models of MS that especially depend on CNS migration across the choroid plexus (CP). In transgenic mice lacking T cell α4-integrin expression (CD4::Itga4 -/- ), MCAM blockade delayed disease onset. Migration of MCAM-expressing T cells through the CP into the CNS was restricted, where laminin 411 (composed of α4, β1, γ1 chains), the proposed major ligand of MCAM, is detected in the endothelial basement membranes of murine CP tissue. This finding was translated to the human system; blockade of MCAM with a therapeutic antibody reduced in vitro transmigration of MCAM-expressing T cells across a human fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix layer and a brain-derived endothelial monolayer, both expressing laminin α4. Laminin α4 was further detected in situ in CP endothelial-basement membranes in MS patients' brain tissue. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that MCAM-laminin 411 interactions facilitate trans-endothelial migration of MCAM-expressing T cells into the CNS, which seems to be highly relevant to migration via the CP and to potential future clinical applications in neuroinflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number236
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 22 Aug 2018


  • CNS-migration
  • Choroid plexus
  • EAE
  • Laminin 411
  • MCAM
  • VLA-4


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