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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Sep 30;94(20):10821-6.

Copolymer 1 induces T cells of the T helper type 2 that crossreact with myelin basic protein and suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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Department of Immunology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


The synthetic amino acid copolymer copolymer 1 (Cop 1) suppresses experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and is beneficial in multiple sclerosis. To further understand Cop 1 suppressive activity, we studied the cytokine secretion profile of various Cop 1-induced T cell lines and clones. Unlike T cell lines induced by myelin basic protein (MBP), which secreted either T cell helper type 1 (Th1) or both Th1 and Th2 cytokines, the T cell lines/clones induced by Cop 1 showed a progressively polarized development toward the Th2 pathway, until they completely lost the ability to secrete Th1 cytokines. Our findings indicate that the polarization of the Cop 1-induced lines did not result from the immunization vehicle or the in vitro growing conditions, but rather from the tendency of Cop 1 to preferentially induce a Th2 response. The response of all of the Cop 1 specific lines/clones, which were originated in the (SJL/JxBALB/c)F1 hybrids, was restricted to the BALB/c parental haplotype. Even though the Cop 1-induced T cells had not been exposed to the autoantigen MBP, they crossreacted with MBP by secretion of interleukin (IL)-4, IL-6, and IL-10. Administration of these T cells in vivo resulted in suppression of EAE induced by whole mouse spinal cord homogenate, in which several autoantigens may be involved. Secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines by Cop 1-induced suppressor cells, in response to either Cop 1 or MBP, may explain the therapeutic effect of Cop 1 in EAE and in multiple sclerosis.

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