Altered secretory and neuroprotective function of the choroid plexus in progressive multiple sclerosis

Sabela Rodríguez-Lorenzo, David Miguel Ferreira Francisco, Ricardo Vos, Bert Van Het Hof, Merel Rijnsburger, Horst Schroten, Hiroshi Ishikawa, Wissam Beaino, Rémy Bruggmann, Gijs Kooij, Helga E. De Vries

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The choroid plexus (CP) is a key regulator of the central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis through its secretory, immunological and barrier properties. Accumulating evidence suggests that the CP plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), but the underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive. To get a comprehensive view on the role of the CP in MS, we studied transcriptomic alterations of the human CP in progressive MS and non-neurological disease controls using RNA sequencing. We identified 17 genes with significantly higher expression in progressive MS patients relative to that in controls. Among them is the newly described long non-coding RNA HIF1A-AS3. Next to that, we uncovered disease-affected pathways related to hypoxia, secretion and neuroprotection, while only subtle immunological and no barrier alterations were observed. In an ex vivo CP explant model, a subset of the upregulated genes responded in a similar way to hypoxic conditions. Our results suggest a deregulation of the Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF)-1 pathway in progressive MS CP. Importantly, cerebrospinal fluid levels of the hypoxia-responsive secreted peptide PAI-1 were higher in MS patients with high disability relative to those with low disability. These findings provide for the first time a complete overview of the CP transcriptome in health and disease, and suggest that the CP environment becomes hypoxic in progressive MS patients, highlighting the altered secretory and neuroprotective properties of the CP under neuropathological conditions. Together, these findings provide novel insights to target the CP and promote the secretion of neuroprotective factors into the CNS of progressive MS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalActa Neuropathologica Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2020


  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • Choroid plexus
  • Hypoxia
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • PAI-1
  • RNA-sequencing

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