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Animal Models

Hello from the Other Side: How Autoantibodies Circumvent the Blood–Brain Barrier in Autoimmune Encephalitis

Maryann P. Platt, Dritan Agalliu, Tyler Cutforth
Frontiers in Immunology-2017

Autoimmunity in the CNS remains confoundingly complex, in both etiology and treatment. While triggers for AE are defined in some cases, frequently, no clear infectious or cancerous cause can be found. BBB integrity clearly plays a role in disease development, and more research on differential barrier permeability over the course of disease would resolve many questions about autoantibody entry and pathogenesis.

Group A Streptococcus intranasal infection promotes CNS infiltration by streptococcal-specific Th17 cells

Thamotharampillai Dileepan, Erica D. Smith, Daniel Knowland, Martin Hsu, Maryann Platt, Peter Bittner-Eddy, Brenda Cohen, Peter Southern, Elizabeth Latimer, Earl Harley Dritan Agalliu. and P. Patrick Cleary
Journal of Clinical Investigation-2015

Our results establish what we believe to be evidence of a novel crosstalk between the CNS and cellular immunity to infections, which may contribute to understanding the pathogenesis of many other CNS autoimmune diseases. Flare-ups associated with several chronic autoimmune conditions may be produced by the expansion of Th17 cells and the activation of cytokines induced by relatively common bacterial or viral infections. Aberrant cytokine expression could then disrupt the BBB to permit preexisting circulating autoantibodies to enter the brain, engage neural targets, and trigger the sudden onset of clinical symptoms.