Liver kinase B1 depletion from astrocytes worsens disease in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis

Academic Article


  • © 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Liver kinase B1 (LKB1) is a ubiquitously expressed kinase involved in the regulation of cell metabolism, growth, and inflammatory activation. We previously reported that a single nucleotide polymorphism in the gene encoding LKB1 is a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS). Since astrocyte activation and metabolic function have important roles in regulating neuroinflammation and neuropathology, we examined the serine/threonine kinase LKB1 in astrocytes in a chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse model of MS. To reduce LKB1, a heterozygous astrocyte-selective conditional knockout (het-cKO) model was used. While disease incidence was similar, disease severity was worsened in het-cKO mice. RNAseq analysis identified Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways enriched in het-cKO mice relating to mitochondrial function, confirmed by alterations in mitochondrial complex proteins and reductions in mRNAs related to astrocyte metabolism. Enriched pathways included major histocompatibility class II genes, confirmed by increases in MHCII protein in spinal cord and cerebellum of het-cKO mice. We observed increased numbers of CD4+ Th17 cells and increased neuronal damage in spinal cords of het-cKO mice, associated with reduced expression of choline acetyltransferase, accumulation of immunoglobulin-γ, and reduced expression of factors involved in motor neuron survival. In vitro, LKB1-deficient astrocytes showed reduced metabolic function and increased inflammatory activation. These data suggest that metabolic dysfunction in astrocytes, in this case due to LKB1 deficiency, can exacerbate demyelinating disease by loss of metabolic support and increase in the inflammatory environment.
  • Published In

  • Glia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Kalinin S; Meares GP; Lin SX; Pietruczyk EA; Saher G; Spieth L; Nave KA; Boullerne AI; Lutz SE; Benveniste EN
  • Start Page

  • 600
  • End Page

  • 616
  • Volume

  • 68
  • Issue

  • 3