Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase1 (IDO1) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the kynurenine pathway that converts l-tryptophan to l-kynurenine. Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) can cause acute myocarditis in various animals including mice. Previously, IDO1 has been reported to have an important immunomodulatory function in immune-related diseases. However, the pathophysiological roles of IDO1 following acute viral infection of central nervous system are not fully understood. We observed that acute EMCV infection leads to a highly reproducible neuronal degeneration in mouse cerebellum. The goal of this study is to determine tissue/cell-specific and time-dependent expressions of IDO1 during acute EMCV infection in mouse cerebellum. IDO1 was up-regulated in microglia, which was recognized to be activated morphologically and positive for ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba-1), a protein expressed in microglia, within EMCV-induced cerebellar lesions showing neuronal degeneration although the very weak expression of IDO1 is detected only in cytoplasm of Purkinje cells. No GFAP immunostaining was observed in EMCV-induced cerebellar lesions although many reactive astrocytes surrounding the lesions showed strongly positive immunostaining for GFAP 10 days after the viral inoculation. Thus, IDO1 expression may affect EMCV-induced neuronal degeneration in cerebellum.
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