WNT/β-catenin signaling induces integrin α4β1 in T cells and promotes a progressive neuroinflammatory disease in mice

Daniele Sorcini, Stefano Bruscoli, Tiziana Frammartino, Monica Cimino, Emanuela Mazzon, Maria Galuppo, Placido Bramanti, Mumna Al-Banchaabouchi, Dominika Farley, Olga Ermakova, Olga Britanova, Mark Izraelson, Dmitry Chudakov, Michele Biagioli, Paolo Sportoletti, Sara Flamini, Marcello Raspa, Ferdinando Scavizzi, Claus Nerlov, Graziella MiglioratiCarlo Riccardi, Oxana Bereshchenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanisms leading to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases in the CNS have not been elucidated. The environmental triggers of the aberrant presence of CD4+ T cells in the CNS are not known. In this article, we report that abnormal β-catenin expression in T cells drives a fatal neuroinflammatory disease in mice that is characterized by CNS infiltration of T cells, glial activation, and progressive loss of motor function. We show that enhanced β-catenin expression in T cells leads to aberrant and Th1-biased T cell activation, enhanced expression of integrin α4β1, and infiltration of activated T cells into the spinal cord, without affecting regulatory T cell function. Importantly, expression of β-catenin in mature naive T cells was sufficient to drive integrin α4β1 expression and CNS migration, whereas pharmacologic inhibition of integrin α4β1 reduced the abnormal T cell presence in the CNS of β-catenin-expressing mice. Together, these results implicate deregulation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway in CNS inflammation and suggest novel therapeutic strategies for neuroinflammatory disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3031-3041
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


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