The trafficking of cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes across the lining of the cerebral vasculature is key to the onset of the chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder multiple sclerosis. However, the mechanisms controlling their final transmigration across the brain endothelium remain unknown. Here, we describe that CD8+ T lymphocyte trafficking into the brain is dependent on the activity of the brain endothelial adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter P-glycoprotein. Silencing P-glycoprotein activity selectively reduced the trafficking of CD8+ T cells across the brain endothelium in vitro as well as in vivo. In response to formation of the T cell-endothelial synapse, P-glycoprotein was found to regulate secretion of endothelial (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), a chemokine that mediates CD8+ T cell migration in vitro. Notably, CCL2 levels were significantly enhanced in microvessels isolated from human multiple sclerosis lesions in comparison with non-neurological controls. Endothelial cell-specific elimination of CCL2 in mice subjected to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis also significantly diminished the accumulation of CD8 + T cells compared to wild-type animals. Collectively, these results highlight a novel (patho)physiological role for P-glycoprotein in CD8 + T cell trafficking into the central nervous system during neuro-inflammation and illustrate CCL2 secretion as a potential link in this mechanism.

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Acta Neuropathologica
Department of Medical Oncology

Kooij, G, Kroon, J, Paul, D, Reijerkerk, A, Geerts, D, van der Pol, S.M.A, … de Vries, H.E. (2014). P-glycoprotein regulates trafficking of CD8+ T cells to the brain parenchyma. Acta Neuropathologica, 127(5), 699–711. doi:10.1007/s00401-014-1244-8