Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive inflammatory disease that damages the central nervous system (CNS). The currently available therapies for MS are primarily focused in minimizing the progression of disability and reducing the number of relapses, therefore new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies for MS are necessary. In this context, the present study was designed to determine if a vitamin D analog or rapamycin could be used as tolerogenic adjuvants on experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) development. Initially, the possible toxicity of these two drugs will be tested by determination of body weight, leukogram, calcium and phosphorus seric concentrations and histopathological analysis of kidney and liver. To evaluate the tolerogenic potential of these two drugs, female C57BL/6 mice will be epicutaneously immunized with MOG (myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein) in their presence. The most efficient tolerogenic strategy will be then tested considering its therapeutic potential on EAE development. In chronic EAE stage, mice will be euthanized and immune response (cytokine and antibody production) and inflammatory infiltrates in the CNS will be assessed. Lastly, the immunological mechanisms involved in tolerance induction will be evaluated through dendritic and regulatory T (Treg) cells phenotype characterization in lymphoid organs and in the CNS. Besides, cytokine profile will be characterized in the CNS. Our hypothesis is that immunization with a SNC antigen delivered by an epicutaneous route in the presence of these two drugs will induce specific tolerance. Tolerogenic dendritic cells and/or Treg cells are expected to be associated with tolerance elicitation. We suppose that this tolerance will be able to protect mice from EAE development.
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