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Eur J Immunol. 1991 Sep;21(9):2139-43.

Synovial fluid-derived Yersinia-reactive T cells responding to human 65-kDa heat-shock protein and heat-stressed antigen-presenting cells.

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I. Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik, Johannes-Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt, Mainz, FRG.


Humoral and cellular immune reactions to heat-shock proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of arthritis. Heat-shock proteins occur in bacteria as well as all eukaryotes and have been highly conserved during evolution. Cross-reactivity between bacterial and human heat-shock proteins induced at the site of inflammation may underlie the pathogenesis of some forms of arthritis. In order to test this hypothesis, we raised and cloned a Yersinia-specific T cell line from the synovial fluid lymphocytes of a patient with Yersinia-induced reactive arthritis. From this line we obtained a CD4+ T cell clone that proliferated in response to Yersinia antigens and both to the mycobacterial and the human 65-kDa heat-shock protein. This T cell clone also proliferated in response to autologous heat-stressed antigen-presenting cells as well as to synovial fluid mononuclear cells from the inflamed joint, thus showing true autoreactivity against endogenously synthetized self-antigen. These results demonstrate the induction of an autoimmune T cell response by a natural bacterial infection and support the important role of heat-shock proteins in the pathogenesis of immune-mediated arthritis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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