Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the CNS involving T cell targeting of myelin antigens. During pregnancy, women with MS experience decreased relapses followed by a post partum disease flare. Using murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, we recapitulate pregnancy findings in both relapsing and progressive models. Pregnant mice produced less TNF-α, IL-17 and exhibited reduced CNS pathology relative to non-pregnant controls. Microparticles, called exosomes, shed into the blood during pregnancy were isolated and found to significantly suppress T cell activation relative to those from non-pregnant controls. These results demonstrate the immunosuppressive potential of pregnancy and serum-derived pregnancy exosomes.
- Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
- Multiple sclerosis