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J Immunol. 1994 Jun 1;152(11):5581-92.

Clonal expansion and persistence of human T cells specific for an immunodominant myelin basic protein peptide.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


TCR rearrangements were used to probe the clonal origin of myelin basic protein (MBP)-reactive T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis (n = 7) and normal subjects (n = 3). The majority of MBP-specific T cell lines were specific for the immunodominant MBP(84-102) and MBP(143-168) peptides and were restricted by HLA-DR molecules. In two patients with the DR2 haplotype, the T cell response to MBP was focused on the MBP(84-102) peptide. In both patients, in vivo expanded population(s) (three expanded populations in the first patient, one expanded population in the second patient) dominated the response to the MBP(84-102) peptide. Two MBP(84-102)-specific T cell clones from a normal subject with the DR2 haplotype were also found to have identical TCR sequences. Clonality was proven by demonstrating that independent clones had identical TCR alpha- and TCR beta-chain sequences as well as identical sequences of a TCR gamma-chain or of a second TCR alpha-chain rearrangement. Repeated analysis of one patient after 13 mo demonstrated that the three expanded clones had persisted in vivo. A representative of one of the expanded clones was again obtained after 31 mo by IL-2 stimulation suggesting that this clone was activated in vivo. These data suggest that the response to human MBP is dominated in at least some subjects by expanded clones that may persist in vivo for relatively long periods of time.

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