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J Immunol. 1992 Jun 1;148(11):3385-90.

Preferential use of a T cell receptor V beta gene by acetylcholine receptor reactive T cells from myasthenia gravis-susceptible mice.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284-7810.


Experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) is an important model for testing current concepts in autoimmunity and novel immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases. The EAMG autoantigen, acethylcholine receptor (AChR), is structurally and immunologically complex, a potential obstacle to the application of therapeutic strategies aimed at oligoclonal T cell populations. Inasmuch as we had previously shown that the clonal heterogeneity of T cell epitope recognition in EAMG was unexpectedly limited, we examined TCR V beta expression. AChR primed lymph node T cells and established AChR reactive T cell clones from EAMG-susceptible C57BL/6 (B6; H-2b, Mls-1b) mice showed preferential utilization of the TCR V beta 6 segment of the TCR. After in vivo priming and in vitro restimulation for 7 days with AChR or a synthetic peptide bearing an immunodominant epitope, V beta 6 expressing lymph node cells (LNC) were expanded several-fold, accounting for up to 75% of recovered viable CD4+ cells. The LNC of B6.C-H-2bm12 (bm12; H-2bm12, Mls-1b) mice, which proliferated in response to AChR but not to the B6 immunodominant peptide, failed to expand V beta 6+ cells. Inasmuch as nonimmune bm12 and B6 animals had similar numbers of V beta 6+ LNC (4-5%), this suggested that structural requirements for TCR recognition of Ag/MHC complexes dictated V beta usage. Results concerning peptide reactivity and V beta 6 expression among T cells from (B6 x bm12)F1 animals also suggested that structure-function relationships, rather than negative selection or tolerance, accounted for the strain differences between B6 and bm12. To examine the potential effects of thymic negative selection of V beta 6+ cells on the T cell response to AChR, CB6F1 (H-2bxd, Mls-1b; V beta 6-expressing) and B6D2F1 (H-2bxd, Mls-1axb; V beta 6-deleting) strains were analyzed for AChR and peptide reactivity and V beta 6 expression. Both F1 strains responded well to AChR but the response of B6D2F1 mice to peptide was significantly reduced compared to CB6F1. Short and long term cultures of peptide-reactive B6D2F1 LNC showed no expansion of residual V beta 6+ cells, although similar cultures of CB6F1 LNC were composed of more than 60% V beta 6+ cells. The results from the F1 strains further indicated that the T cell repertoire for peptide was highly constrained and that non-V beta 6 expressing cells could only partially overcome Mls-mediated negative selection of V beta 6+ TCR capable of recognizing peptide.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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