IFN-γ Signaling to Astrocytes Protects from Autoimmune Mediated Neurological Disability
In response to ER stress, the pancreatic endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) coordinates an adaptive program known as the integrated stress response (ISR) by phosphorylating the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha). IFN-gamma, which activates the ER stress response in oligodendrocytes, is believed to play a critical role in the immune-mediated CNS disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) and its mouse model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Here we report that CNS delivery of IFN-gamma before EAE onset ameliorated the disease course and prevented demyelination, axonal damage, and oligodendrocyte loss. The beneficial effects of IFN-gamma were accompanied by PERK activation in oligodendrocytes and were abrogated in PERK-deficient animals. Our results indicate that IFN-gamma activation of PERK in mature oligodendrocytes attenuates EAE severity and suggest that therapeutic approaches to activate the ISR could prove beneficial in MS.