Prospects for specific immune intervention in T cell-mediated autoimmune disease via anti-idiotypic regulation depend on the degree of diversity of the responder cell antigen receptor repertoire. A highly heterogenous response against self epitopes offers little chance for such regulation. We report here that the Lewis rat autoimmune disease experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, generally considered to be a model of human multiple sclerosis, is caused by T cells that use a limited set of TCR V genes. We have cloned the rat TCR alpha and beta chain cDNAs from the Lewis rat x mouse T cell hybridoma 510, which retains the rat specificity for the encephalitogenic determinant of myelin basic protein (MBP). Using Northern blot analysis of T cell RNA with the cloned V region probes, we have found a specific, and near perfect, correlation between expression of TCR message hybridizing to the V alpha 510 and VB510 probes and specificity for the encephalitogenic determinant of MBP in both T cell hybridomas and encephalitogenic T cell clones. This restricted V gene usage provides a basis for observed idiotypic regulation of auto-reactive T cells, and possible therapy for autoimmune disease. A curious and unexplained observation is that the Lewis rat V alpha/V beta combination that dominates the encephalitogenic response to the 68-88 peptide of MBP is precisely the same V alpha/V beta combination used by the B10.PL mouse response to the encephalitogenic response to the 1-9 peptide of MBP.
Both rat and mouse T cell receptors specific for the encephalitogenic determinant of myelin basic protein use similar V alpha and V beta chain genes even though the major histocompatibility complex and encephalitogenic determinants being recognized are different.
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F R Burns, X B Li, N Shen, H Offner, Y K Chou, A A Vandenbark, E Heber-Katz; Both rat and mouse T cell receptors specific for the encephalitogenic determinant of myelin basic protein use similar V alpha and V beta chain genes even though the major histocompatibility complex and encephalitogenic determinants being recognized are different.. J Exp Med 1 January 1989; 169 (1): 27–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1084/jem.169.1.27
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