Fibronectin connecting segment-1 peptide inhibits pathogenic leukocyte trafficking and inflammatory demyelination in experimental models of chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy
The molecular determinants of pathogenic leukocyte migration across the blood-nerve barrier (BNB) in chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy (CIDP) are unknown. Specific disease modifying therapies for CIDP are also lacking. Fibronectin connecting segment-1 (FNCS1), an alternatively spliced fibronectin variant expressed by microvascular endothelial cells at sites of inflammation in vitro and in situ, is a counterligand for leukocyte α4 integrin (also known as CD49d) implicated in pathogenic leukocyte trafficking in multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. We sought to determine the role of FNCS1 in CIDP patient leukocyte trafficking across the BNB in vitro and in severe chronic demyelinating neuritis in vivo using a representative spontaneous murine CIDP model. Peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes from 7 untreated CIDP patients were independently infused into a cytokine-treated, flow-dependent in vitro BNB model system. Time-lapse digital video microscopy was performed to visualize and quantify leukocyte trafficking, comparing FNCS1 peptide blockade to relevant controls. Fifty 24-week old female B7–2 deficient non-obese diabetic mice with spontaneous autoimmune peripheral polyneuropathy (SAPP) were treated daily with 2 mg/kg FNCS1 peptide for 5 days via intraperitoneal injection with appropriate controls. Neurobehavioral measures of disease severity, motor nerve electrophysiology assessments and histopathological quantification of inflammation and morphometric assessment of demyelination were performed to determine in vivo efficacy. The biological relevance of FNCS1 and CD49d in CIDP was evaluated by immunohistochemical detection in affected patient sural nerve biopsies. 25 μM FNCS1 peptide maximally inhibited CIDP leukocyte trafficking at the human BNB in vitro. FNCS1 peptide treatment resulted in significant improvements in disease severity, motor electrophysiological parameters of demyelination and histological measures of inflammatory demyelination. Microvessels demonstrating FNCS1 expression and CD49d + leukocytes were seen within the endoneurium of patient nerve biopsies. Taken together, these results imply a role for FNCS1 in pathogenic leukocyte trafficking in CIDP, providing a potential target for therapeutic modulation.