Because of its proximity to the central nervous system, the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) represents an important source of T cells that potentially could mediate putative autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). To overcome the low CSF cellularity, we evaluated culture conditions that could expand CSF T cells, with a focus on the expression of T‐cell receptor Vβ genes utilized by T cells specific for the potentially encephalitogenic autoantigen myelin basic protein (BP). Expansion of “activated” CSF cells with IL‐2/IL‐4 plus accessory cells optimally retained BP‐responsive T cells that over‐expressed Vβ1, Vβ2, Vβ;5, or Vβ;18, compared to expansion using supernatants from PHA‐stimulated blood cells, or anti‐CD3 antibody that led to different V gene bias and rare reactivity to BP. Sequential evaluation of paired CSF and blood samples from a relapsing remitting MS patient indicated that BP‐reactive T cells were present in CSF during the period of clinical activity, and the pattern of BP recognition in CSF was partially reflected in blood, even after CSF reactivity had dissipated during remission. Over‐expressed Vβ genes were not always constant, however, since in three sequential evaluations of a chronic progressive MS patient, Vβ genes over‐expressed in the first BP‐reactive CSF switched to a different Vβ gene bias that was present in the second and third CSF samples. Blood samples reflected each pattern of CSF Vβ gene bias, but retained the initial bias for at least 4 months after its disappearance from CSF. These data indicate that selective expansion of IL‐2/Il‐4‐responsive CSF cells favors growth of the BP‐reactive subpopulation, and, in a limited number of patients studied, reflected clinical disease activity. In comparison, blood T cells provided a partial but longer lasting reflection of the CSF BP reactivity and Vβ gene bias. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience