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J Neuroimmunol. 1999 Sep 1;99(1):36-43.

Autoreactivity to myelin antigens: myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein is a prevalent autoantigen.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0435, USA.


Autoreactive T cells specific for myelin antigens are thought to play a role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We compared T cell proliferative responses in peripheral blood following challenge in vitro with myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (recombinant protein, rMOG), myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid apoprotein (PLP) in 50 patients with MS and 40 healthy controls. T cell reactivity against rMOG (defined by a specific stimulation index of 2.5 or greater) was present in 13 (26%) MS patients and 12 (30%) healthy controls and was MHC-restricted, as anti-MHC class II antibodies abolished all proliferative responses. By contrast, reactivity against PLP was present in only one (2%) MS patient and six (15%) controls, and no reactivity against MBP was found in any subject. Thus, by the criteria of the present study, an increased reactivity of circulating T cells to MOG is present to a similar degree in healthy individuals and in patients with MS. This finding raises the possibility that additional factors contribute to the pathogenicity of these autoreactive T cell populations in demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system.

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