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Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an animal model of inflammatory demyelination, a pathological event common to multiple sclerosis (MS). During CNS inflammation there are alterations in the extracellular matrix (ECM). A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) -1, -4 and -5 are proteases present in the CNS, which are able to cleave the aggregating chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans, aggrecan, phosphacan, neurocan and brevican. It is therefore important to investigate changes in their expression in different stages of EAE induction. We have investigated expression of ADAMTS-1, -4, -5 and Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) -3, by real-time RT-PCR. We have also examined protein expression of ADAMTS-1, -4 and -5 by western blotting and immunocytochemistry in spinal cord from animals at different stages of disease progression. Our study demonstrated a decrease in ADAMTS-4 mRNA and protein expression. TIMP-3 was decreased at the mRNA level although protein levels were increased in diseased animals compared to controls. Our study identifies changes in ADAMTS expression during the course of CNS inflammation which may contribute to ECM degradation and disease progression.
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