Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1, encoded by HMOX1) dampens inflammatory reactions via the catabolism of heme into CO, Fe, and biliverdin. We report that expression of HO-1 dictates the pathologic outcome of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Induction of EAE in Hmox1-/- C57BL/6 mice led to enhanced CNS demyelination, paralysis, and mortality, as compared with Hmox1+/+ mice. Induction of HO-1 by cobalt protoporphyrin IX (CoPPIX) administration after EAE onset reversed paralysis in C57BL/6 and SJL/J mice and disease relapse in SJL/J mice. These effects were not observed using zinc protoporphyrin IX, which does not induce HO-1. CoPPIX protection was abrogated in Hmox1-/- C57BL/6 mice, indicating that CoPPIX acts via HO-1 to suppress EAE progression. The protective effect of HO-1 was associated with inhibition of MHC class II expression by APCs and inhibition of Th and CD8 T cell accumulation, proliferation, and effector function within the CNS. Exogenous CO mimicked these effects, suggesting that CO contributes to the protective action of HO-1. In conclusion, HO-1 or exposure to its end product CO counters autoimmune neuroinflammation and thus might be used therapeutically to treat MS.
- REGULATORY T-CELLS
- EXPERIMENTAL ALLERGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS
- RECEPTOR TRANSGENIC MICE
- CLASS-II TRANSACTIVATOR
- ANTIGEN PRESENTATION