Discrete class I molecules on brain endothelium differentially regulate neuropathology in experimental cerebral malaria


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Cerebral malaria is the deadliest complication that can arise from Plasmodium infection. CD8 T-cell engagement of brain vasculature is a putative mechanism of neuropathology in cerebral malaria.To define contributions of brain endothelial cell major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen-presentation to CD8 T cells in establishing cerebral malaria pathology, we developed novel H-2Kb LoxP and H-2Db LoxP mice crossed with Cdh5-Cre mice to achieve targeted deletion of discrete class I molecules, specifically from brain endothelium. This strategy allowed us to avoid off-target effects on iron homeostasis and class I-like molecules, which are known to perturb Plasmodium infection. This is the first endothelial-specific ablation of individual class-I molecules enabling us to interrogate these molecular interactions.In these studies, we interrogated human and mouse transcriptomics data to compare antigen presentation capacity during cerebral malaria. Using the Plasmodium berghei ANKA model of experimental cerebral malaria (ECM), we observed that H-2Kb and H-2Db class I molecules regulate distinct patterns of disease onset, CD8 T-cell infiltration, targeted cell death and regional blood-brain barrier disruption.Strikingly, ablation of either molecule from brain endothelial cells resulted in reduced CD8 T-cell activation, attenuated T-cell interaction with brain vasculature, lessened targeted cell death, preserved blood-brain barrier integrity and prevention of ECM and the death of the animal. We were able to show that these events were brain-specific through the use of parabiosis and created the novel technique of dual small animal MRI to simultaneously scan conjoined parabionts during infection.These data demonstrate that interactions of CD8 T cells with discrete MHC class I molecules on brain endothelium differentially regulate development of ECM neuropathology. Therefore, targeting MHC class I interactions therapeutically may hold potential for treatment of cases of severe malaria. Malaria infection has high mortality due to a deadly brain complication called cerebral malaria. Fain et al. show that specific immune molecules found on the blood vessels supplying the brain are the initiators of this pathology, with different molecules capable of instructing immune cells to initiate disease in distinct ways. 10.1093/brain/awad319video1 Video Abstract awad319video1 6345545781112
cerebral malaria,neuroimmunology,brain microvascular endothelial cells,MHC Class I,CD8 T cells
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