Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Neuroantigen-specific, tolerogenic vaccines: GM-CSF is a fusion partner that facilitates tolerance rather than immunity to dominant self-epitopes of myelin in murine models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE)

Derek J Abbott1, J Lori Blanchfield2, David A Martinson1, Sean C Russell1, Najla Taslim1, Alan D Curtis1 and Mark D Mannie1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Department of Microbiology and Immunology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA

2 The Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA

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BMC Immunology 2011, 12:72  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-12-72

Published: 30 December 2011



Vaccination strategies that elicit antigen-specific tolerance are needed as therapies for autoimmune disease. This study focused on whether cytokine-neuroantigen (NAg) fusion proteins could inhibit disease in chronic murine models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and thus serve as potential therapeutic modalities for multiple sclerosis.


A fusion protein comprised of murine GM-CSF as the N-terminal domain and the encephalitogenic MOG35-55 peptide as the C-terminal domain was tested as a tolerogenic, therapeutic vaccine (TTV) in the C57BL/6 model of EAE. Administration of GMCSF-MOG before active induction of EAE, or alternatively, at the onset of EAE blocked the development and progression of EAE. Covalent linkage of the GM-CSF and MOG35-55 domains was required for tolerogenic activity. Likewise, a TTV comprised of GM-CSF and PLP139-151 was a tolerogen in the SJL model of EAE.


These data indicated that fusion proteins containing GM-CSF coupled to myelin auto-antigens elicit tolerance rather than immunity.