Transcriptomic changes in autophagy-related genes are inversely correlated with inflammation and are associated with multiple sclerosis lesion pathology

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Abstract

Autophagy is a lysosomal degradative pathway essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis and is also implicated in multiple aspects of both innate and adaptive immunity. Neuroinflammation, along with demyelination and axonal loss, is an important component of multiple sclerosis (MS). Induction of autophagy ameliorated disease progression in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model for MS, underlying a possible link between autophagy and MS pathology. However, it is still unclear how autophagy is affected during different stages of MS. Here, we show a decreased expression of the autophagy-related (ATG) genes during the acute phase of EAE development in mice as well as in mixed active/inactive lesions of post-mortem human MS brain tissues. Using spatial transcriptomics, we observed that this decreased ATG gene expression is most prominent in the core of mixed active/inactive lesions. Furthermore, we observed a hyper-activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) in lesions, which could inhibit both the initiation of autophagy and the transcription factors that regulate the expression of the ATG genes. Thus, based on our data, we propose a negative regulation of autophagy in MS, possibly through persistent mTORC1 activation, which depends on the lesion stage. Our results contribute to the understanding of the role of autophagy in different stages of MS pathology and point to the mTORC1 pathway as a potential modulator that likely regulates central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis and neuroinflammation in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100510
Number of pages10
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2022

Keywords

  • Autophagy
  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuroinflammation

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