CD44 antigen (CD44), the principle cell surface receptor for hyaluronate, is up-regulated in the human demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis on fibrous astrocytes. As astrocytes are the main target cell of canine distemper virus (CDV). the consequences of a CDV infection on the CD44 expression and distribution in brains with spontaneous demyelinating canine distemper encephalitis (CDE) were of interest. Thirteen acute, 35 subacute, and 11 chronic plaques of nine dogs with immunohistologically confirmed CDE and brains of control dogs were included in the study. For light microscopy, 5-mu m-thick serial sections were stained with H&E and incubated with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against CD44 and canine distemper virus nucleoprotein and polyclonal antibodies (pAbs) against glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and myelin basic protein (MBP). For immunoelectron microscopy, 90-nm-thick sections were double stained with anti-GFAP and anti-CD44 mAbs to specify CD44-expressing structures. In controls, CD44 was diffusely distributed in the white matter and single meningeal cells exhibited a marginal expression of the antigen. In acute and more prominently in subacute demyelinating encephalitis, there was a plaque-associated up-regulation of CD44 which paralleled GFAP. In chronic demyelinating lesions, a reduction of CD44 associated with a loss of GFAP-positive astrocytes was noted. Additionally, in chronic plaques, CD44 was expressed on the cell membrane of perivascular mononuclear cells. Immunoelectron microscopically, in controls, CD44 was rarely demonstrated on astrocytic cell processes. In contrast, in brains with CDE CD44 was found on the cell membrane of broadened astrocytic cell processes. In summary, CD44 is up-regulated on astrocytes in the early phase of CDE and seems to represent a marker for the activation of immune cells in the late phase of the infection.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2000|