Author(s): Zang YC, Kozovska MM, Hong J, Li S, Mann S,
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Abstract T cell responses to myelin basic protein (MBP) may play an important role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). If MBP-reactive T cells are involved in the disease processes and undergo clonal activation and expansion, their precursor frequency would be increased in patients with MS. The frequency of MBP-reactive T cells is also influenced by regulatory mechanisms in vivo, including apoptotic deletion. In this study, we examined changes in the frequency of MBP-reactive T cells in patients with MS as a function of the apoptotic deletional mechanism in vivo, using a cell culture-based assay. A significantly increased frequency of MBP-reactive T cells was found in patients with MS relative to healthy individuals only when Fas-ligand antibody was used to block apoptosis. This result indicates that a significant proportion of MBP-reactive T cells are sensitive to apoptosis and are not deleted in vivo in patients with MS, as opposed to healthy individuals, thus suggesting a functional deficit in apoptotic deletional mechanism. Surviving Fas-sensitive MBP-reactive T cell lines represent distinct subpopulations preferentially recognizing the 111-139 region of MBP and exhibiting a Th2 cytokine profile. The findings are relevant to our understanding of regulation of MBP-reactive T cells in vivo in MS.
This article was published in Eur J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology