Autotaxin (ATX) is a secreted lysophospholipase D catalyzing the extracellular production of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), a growth factor-like signaling lysophospholipid. ATX and LPA signaling have been incriminated in the pathogenesis of different chronic inflammatory diseases and various types of cancer. In this report, deregulated ATX and LPA levels were detected in the spinal cord and plasma of mice during the development of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Among the different sources of ATX expression in the inflamed spinal cord, F4/80+ CD11b+ cells, mostly activated macrophages and microglia, were found to express ATX, further suggesting an autocrine role for ATX/LPA in their activation, an EAE hallmark. Accordingly, ATX genetic deletion from CD11b+ cells attenuated the severity of EAE, thus proposing a pathogenic role for the ATX/LPA axis in neuroinflammatory disorders.
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