Uncertainty regarding pathogenic mechanisms has been a major impediment to effective prevention and treatment for human neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, tropical spastic paraparesis, and AIDS demyelinating disease. Here, we implicate lymphotoxin (LT) (tumor necrosis factor beta [TNF-beta]) and TNF-alpha in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), a murine model of an autoimmune demyelinating disease. In this communication, we report that treatment of recipient mice with an antibody that neutralizes LT and TNF-alpha prevents transfer of clone-mediated EAE. LNC-8, a myelin basic protein-specific T cell line, produces high levels of LT and TNF-alpha after activation by concanavalin A, antibody to the CD-3 epsilon component of the T cell receptor, or myelin basic protein presented in the context of syngeneic spleen cells. LNC-8 cells transfer clinical signs of EAE. When LNC-8 recipient mice were also treated with TN3.19.12, a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes LT and TNF-alpha, the severity of the transferred EAE was reduced, while control antibodies did not alter the disease. The effect of anti-LT/TNF-alpha treatment was long lived and has been sustained for 5 mo. These findings suggest that LT and TNF-alpha and the T cells that produce them play an important role in EAE.

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