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J Immunol. 2008 Apr 1;180(7):4409-14.

Lack of TIM-3 immunoregulation in multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the CNS white matter associated with T cell infiltrates and alterations of immune functions that can be measured in the peripheral immune system. TIM-3 has been identified as a central regulator of IFN-gamma-secreting type 1 Th (Th1) cells and immune tolerance. In this study, using a newly generated mAb against human TIM-3, we examined TIM-3 function on ex vivo CD4(+) T cells isolated from the circulation of healthy subjects and patients with MS. Blocking TIM-3 during T cell stimulation significantly enhanced IFN-gamma secretion in control subjects but had no effect in untreated patients with MS, demonstrating a defect in TIM-3 immunoregulation. Treatment with glatiramer acetate or IFN-beta reversed this functional defect. Reduced levels and altered kinetics of T cell TIM-3 expression, which was restored in treated patients, is one mechanism that can explain the loss of TIM-3 regulation of T cell function in untreated patients with MS. These data provide functional, mechanistic data for dysregulated TIM-3 immunoregulation in a human autoimmune disease and suggest that approved therapies for the treatment of MS may function in part by restoring TIM-3 immunoregulation of T cell function.

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