Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an autoimmune disease that preferentially affects central nerve system. Herein, we evaluated changes of CD40L and CD40 mRNA expressions in NMOSD and controls to explore their potential roles in development of NMOSD. The expressions of CD40L and CD40 mRNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with NMOSD and healthy controls were detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare expression levels of CD40L and CD40 mRNA between groups, and Spearman correlation analysis was performed to evaluate correlation between mRNA expression levels and annual relapse rate (ARR) of NMOSD. A total of 71 patients with NMOSD and 42 gender- and age-matched healthy volunteers were recruited in our study. Compared with healthy controls, expression of CD40L mRNA was significantly decreased in untreated patients with NMOSD, and similar trends were observed also in CD40 mRNA expression although the difference was not significant. Other than that, immunosuppressants not only successfully increased CD40L and CD40 mRNA levels during remission of NMOSD, but also corrected the negative correlation between CD40L mRNA expression and annual relapse rate (ARR) of patients NMOSD. These results favored the long-term prognosis of NMOSD patients. Our results suggest that decreased expressions of CD40L mRNA may be involved in developing of NMOSD and the proper CD40L mRNA levels benefit to prevent attacks of NMOSD. Nevertheless, the relationship between protein and mRNA expressions of CD40L and their underlying roles in the pathogenesis of NMOSD remains to be further studied.
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The authors thank Dr. Sisi Wu and Miss Xuemei Chen (West China Hospital, Sichuan University) for their technical support in qPCR. We are also grateful to patients with NMOSD and healthy volunteers in China for their participations and supports.
The work was funded by the National Key Basic Research and Development Program of China (No. 2017YFC0907704) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (No. 2017SCU11049).
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Shi, Z., Feng, L., Lian, Z. et al. Decreased mRNA Expressions of CD40L in Patients with Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder. J Mol Neurosci (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12031-019-01467-w
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