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Eur J Immunol. 2001 Oct;31(10):2942-50.

Frequency, heterogeneity and encephalitogenicity of T cells specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein in naive outbred primates.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA. pvilloslada@unav.es


Auto-reactive T cells present in healthy subjects remain in a state of unresponsiveness, but may trigger autoimmunity under various situations. Although myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) is a potential target antigen in multiple sclerosis (MS), MOG-reactive T cell responses are present in the blood of both healthy subjects and MS-affected individuals. To investigate the disease-inducing potential and regulation of these autoreactive T cells in healthy outbred populations, we have characterized MOG-reactive T cell clones obtained by limiting dilution from peripheral blood of unimmunized C. jacchus marmosets. We report an extraordinarily high prevalence of circulating MOG-reactive T cells in these naive animals (2.6 +/- 1.4 / 10(5) PBMC), and a broadly diverse repertoire of epitope recognition encompassing at least three regions within the extracellular domain of MOG. Adoptive transfer of a MOG21-40-specific T cell clone resulted in mild clinical experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, characterized pathologically by rare foci of inflammation and minimal demyelination. We conclude that MOG-reactive T cells are present in healthy primates at a highly prevalent frequency, and are potentially capable of triggering central nervous system autoimmunity. Expansion of these autoreactive T cells must be tightly controlled to maintain immune homeostasis in healthy individuals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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