Both rat and mouse T cell receptors specific for the encephalitogenic determinant of myelin basic protein use similar Vα and Vβ chain genes even though the major histocompatibility complex and encephalitogenic determinants being recognized are different

F. R. Burns, X. Li, N. Shen, H. Offner, Y. K. Chou, A. A. Vandenbark, E. Heber-Katz

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320 Scopus citations


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 α and β 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 Vα510 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 Vα/Vβ combination that dominates the encephalitogenic response to the 68-88 peptide of MBP is precisely the same Vα/Vβ combination used by the B10.PL mouse response to the encephalitogenic response to the 1-9 peptide of MBP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-39
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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