T cells with specificity for self-Ags are normally present in the peripheral blood, and, upon activation, may target tissue Ags and become involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune processes. In multiple sclerosis, a demyelinating disease of the CNS, it is postulated that inflammatory damage is initiated by CD4+ T cells reactive to myelin Ags. To investigate the potential naive vs memory origin of circulating myelin-reactive cells, we have generated myelin basic protein (MBP)- and tetanus toxoid-specific T cell clones from CD45RA+/RO- and CD45RO+/RA- CD4+ T cell subsets from the peripheral blood of multiple sclerosis patients and controls. Our results show that 1) the response to MBP, different from that to TT, predominantly emerges from the CD45RA+ subset; 2) the reactivity to immunodominant MBP epitopes mostly resides in the CD45RA+ subset; 3) in each individual, the recognition of single MBP epitopes is skewed to either subset, with no overlap in the Ag fine specificity; and 4) in spite of a lower expression of costimulatory and adhesion molecules, CD45RA+ subset-derived clones recognize epitopes with higher functional Ag avidity. These findings point to a central role of the naive CD45RA+ T cell subset as the source for immunodominant, potentially pathogenic effector CD4+ T cell responses in humans.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - May 15 2000|
ASJC Scopus subject areas