Validation of a novel biomarker for acute axonal injury in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Authors

  • Melissa M. Gresle,

    Corresponding author
    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    • Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia 3010
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Gerry Shaw,

    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Department of Neuroscience, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida
    3. EnCor Biotechnology Inc., Gainesville, Florida
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bevyn Jarrott,

    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Department of Pharmacology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Estella N. Alexandrou,

    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Anna Friedhuber,

    1. Department of Pathology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Trevor J. Kilpatrick,

    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Helmut Butzkueven

    1. Howard Florey Institute, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    2. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Conflicts of interest: G.S. holds equity in EnCor Biotechnology Inc., a company commercializing the antibodies and pNF-H ELISA used in this study, and may benefit by receiving royalties or equity growth.

Abstract

In multiple sclerosis, inflammatory axonal injury is a key pathological mechanism responsible for the development of progressive neurological dysfunction. The injured axon represents a therapeutic target in this disease; however, therapeutic trials of neuroprotective candidates will initially require preclinical testing in an animal model of inflammatory axonal injury and subsequently the development of a reliable paraclinical measure of axonal degeneration in humans. In the present study, we demonstrate the validity of serum phosphorylated neurofilament H (pNF-H) as a marker of axonal injury in murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). At the time of maximum disease severity (EAE day 22), the average serum pNF-H level reached 5.7 ng/ml, correlating significantly with the EAE paraplegia score (r = 0.75, P < 0.001). On average, 40% of axons in the spinal cord were lost in EAE, and serum pNF-H levels were highly correlated with axon loss (r = 0.8, P < 0.001). Axonal injury was a severe and acute event, insofar as serum pNF-H levels were not significantly elevated at early (EAE day 12) or late (EAE days 35 and 50) disease time points. Our results demonstrate that acute inflammatory axonal injury is a pathological feature of murine MOG35–55 EAE, indicating that this model may mirror the acute pathological events in active multiple sclerosis lesions. Furthermore, we have validated the serum pNF-H assay as an unbiased measurement of axonal injury in EAE, facilitating rapid screening of potential neuroprotective therapies in this model. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary