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Ann Neurol. 1991 Dec;30(6):794-800.

Peripheral blood gamma-delta T cells lyse fresh human brain-derived oligodendrocytes.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


T cells are postulated to contribute to the injury of the oligodendrocyte-myelin complex underlying the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS). The apparent lack of class I or II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) expression in situ on human oligodendrocytes and the consistent failure to identify a universal myelin antigen in MS suggest that the immune damage might be mediated by effector T cells that are capable of reacting in an antigen-nonspecific and possibly MHC-unrestricted manner, such as T cells expressing the gamma-delta T-cell receptor. Since gamma-delta T cells are reported to be present in MS plaques and an increased number are found in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with MS, we directly examined whether gamma-delta T cells are capable of inducing injury to human oligodendrocytes. We found, using a 6-hour 51Cr release assay, that oligodendrocytes cultured from surgically resected human brain specimens were effectively lysed in a dose-dependent manner by human gamma-delta T cells (28 +/- 5% mean specific lysis, n = 6, at an effector-target ratio of 20:1). Although heat shock protein HSP72, a putative gamma-delta T-cell recognition molecule, could be induced in vitro in our oligodendrocytes, an antibody to HSP72 did not inhibit gamma-delta T cell-mediated lysis of oligodendrocytes. These results suggest that gamma-delta T cells gaining entry into the central nervous system may be deleterious to oligodendrocytes and thus may contribute to the pathogenesis of MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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