The journal of histochemistry and cytochemistry : official journal of the Histochemistry Society

All- Trans-Retinoic Acid Augments the Histopathological Outcome of Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration in Lupus-Prone MRL/lpr Mice.

PMID 27856824


Recently, we demonstrated that treatment with all- trans-retinoic acid (tRA) induced a paradoxical effect on immune activation during the development of autoimmune lupus. Here, we further describe its negative effects on mediating neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. Female MRL/lpr mice were orally administered tRA or VARA (retinol mixed with 10% tRA) from 6 to 14 weeks of age. Both treatments had a significant effect on brain weight, which correlated with histopathological evidence of focal astrogliosis, meningitis, and ventriculitis. Infiltration of CD138- and Iba1-positve immune cells was observed in the third ventricle and meninges of treated mice that co-labeled with ICAM-1, indicating their inflammatory nature. Increased numbers of circulating plasma cells, autoantibodies, and total IgG were also apparent. IgG and C3 complement deposition in these brain regions were also prominent as was focal astrogliosis surrounding the ventricular lining and meninges. Using Fluoro-Jade staining, we further demonstrate that neuroinflammation was accompanied by neurodegeneration in the cortex of treated mice compared with vehicle controls. These findings indicate that vitamin A exposure exacerbates the immunogenic environment of the brain during the onset of systemic autoimmune disease. Vitamin A may therefore compromise the immuno-privileged nature of the central nervous system under a predisposed immunogenic environment.