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Ann Neurol. 1985 Oct;18(4):451-8.

Phenotypic and functional analysis of T cells cloned directly from the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with multiple sclerosis.


A single-cell cloning technique was used to analyze both phenotype and function of individual T cells in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) lymphocytes were plated at 1 cell per well, stimulated with phytohemagglutinin followed by interleukin 2, and expanded to 3 X 10(6) cells per "clone." More than 90% of the T8 clones generated from patients with MS and controls in both blood and CSF were cytotoxic precursors. There was also a slight decrease in cytotoxic T4 clones in the blood of patients with MS. The cytotoxic precursor frequencies of T cells in the CSF generally reflected those in the blood. In separate experiments, antigen reactivity was examined in lines established from blood or CSF. No reactivity to myelin basic protein or white matter was found in patients with MS or controls. Myelin basic protein-reactive clones could, however, be generated after first stimulating lymphocytes with antigen before cloning. These results suggest that changes in the T8 population from the blood of patients with MS involve cytotoxic as well as suppressor cells. Sequestration of myelin basic protein- or white matter-reactive T cells was not seen in the CSF of patients with MS, unlike reports of viral meningoencephalitis, in which large numbers of antigen-specific cells were found in the CSF. Direct single-cell clonal analysis of the CSF should provide a more sophisticated approach to the study of T cell abnormalities in patients with MS.

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