More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Short-term evolution of autoreactive T cell repertoire in multiple sclerosis

Journal of Neuroscience Research
Volume 66, Issue 3, 2001. Pages: 517-524
M. Vergelli 1, B. Mazzanti 1, E. Traggiai 1, T. Biagioli 1, C. Ballerini 1, A. Parigi 1, A. Konse 2, G. Pellicanò 2, L. Massacesi 1 *
1Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
2Department of Clinical Physiopathology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy


T cells reactive to self-antigens are present in the peripheral blood of patients with autoimmune diseases as well as in healthy subjects.

Although T cell-response to the self-myelin antigen myelin basic protein (MBP) has been widely investigated in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, very little is known about the evolution over time of this response and its correlation with the disease activity.

In recent years magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques have provided new tools for following the inflammatory activity in the central nervous system (CNS) of MS patients.

In the present study the T cell response to MBP was longitudinally investigated in terms of frequency, epitope specificity, and cytokine production profile in four patients with relapsing-remitting MS enrolled in a gadolinium-enhanced MRI serial study.

In spite of different profiles of inflammatory activity within the CNS, all the patients examined showed major changes in their reactivity to MBP during the follow-up period in terms of both frequency and epitope specificity.

Episodic expansions of MBP-specific T cell populations were observed in each patient, and overall they did not correlate with disease activity.

In these patients the expansions:

1) occurred in the context of a steady level of disease activity,
2) correlated with a burst of CNS inflammation,
3) followed the appearance of a new active lesion, and
4) were observed even in the absence of detectable signs of CNS inflammation during the entire follow-up period.

These results suggest that the evolution over time of the T cell response to a self-antigen such as MBP is more complex than previously expected.

The short-term repertoire dynamics of autoreactive T cells in MS underscore the importance of longitudinal studies for evaluating autoreactivity to myelin antigens and probably to any self-antigen in other autoimmune diseases.

J. Neurosci. Res. 66:517-524, 2001.

© 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.