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Eur J Immunol. 2000 Mar;30(3):747-58.

Induction of resistance to active experimental allergic encephalomyelitis by myelin basic protein-specific Th2 cell lines generated in the presence of glucocorticoids and IL-4.

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Medical Research Council, Cellular Immunology Unit, Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, GB.


We have produced T cell lines with a Th2 phenotype in the presence of IL-4 and the glucocorticoid dexamethasone (DEX). IL-4 and DEX together were more effective in inducing a Th2 response than IL-4 alone. Myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific Th2 lines were obtained and their ability to induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) was studied. Lines treated with IL-4 and DEX did not transfer passive EAE and did not induce cellular infiltration into the central nervous system as opposed to the encephalitogenic Th1 lines. Lines treated with IL-4 and DEX did not protect animals from the effect of encephalitogenic Th1 lines when the two were injected together. However, a high proportion of animals injected with IL-4 + DEX-treated lines became refractory to the development of EAE after immunization with MBP; that is, it was possible to induce resistance to active EAE without prior episodes of disease. Interestingly, animals injected with T cell lines had accelerated antibody responses against MBP and the predominant isotype was dependent on the cytokines synthesized by the T cell line injected. There was not evidence that the resistance to active EAE was due to anergy of MBP-reactive cells or the action of CD8+ cells. Our data suggest that MBP-specific T cell lines prevent the induction of disease by deviating the reactivity to MBP from a cell-mediated to a humoral one and not merely from a Th1 to a Th2 response.

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