The pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to involve a T- cell-mediated autoimmune process. Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model resembling MS, can be induced by immunization with myelin antigens such as myelin basic protein. The T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) usage in EAE is highly restricted in some strains of animals and experimental treatments targeting the TCR have been successful in EAE. Examination of the TCR β-chain variable-region (V(β)) usage of MBP-specific T-cell lines in MS patients has produced conflicting results. Our previous studies of TCR α-chain variable-region usage in monozygotic twins demonstrated a general skewing of the TCR repertoire in individuals with MS. This skewing became apparent only after stimulation with antigens; in peripheral blood lymphocyte preparations from individuals with MS V(α)8- bearing T cells were preferentially selected by stimulation with myelin basic protein. In the present study we examined complementarity-determining region 3 of those V(α)8-positive TCRs. Marked sequence heterogeneity was found in all individuals with severe MS. In contrast, restricted areas of complementarity-determining region 3 were found in healthy control individuals and in individuals with a mild form of MS. Sequences from tetanus toxoid-specific V(α)8-positive T cells generated from the same individuals were relatively homogeneous within individuals regardless of disease activity and were distinct from the sequence of complementarity-determining region 3 in myelin basic protein-stimulated lines. These findings suggest that disease severity may be associated with increased heterogeneity of myelin antigen- specific T cells and could reflect an impaired ability of the immune system to down-regulate these anti-self responses.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 7 1994|
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