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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1996 Feb 13;778:251-7.

Antigen-specific TGF-beta1 secretion with bovine myelin oral tolerization in multiple sclerosis.

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Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Multiple sclerosis is a presumed autoimmune disease, associated with inflammation in the CNS white matter, mediated by autoreactive T cells. We previously reported that oral myelin tolerization of relapsing-remitting MS patients resulted in fewer attacks, as compared to a placebo-fed group. Here, we examined whether oral tolerization with bovine myelin resulted in altered autoreactive T-cell populations or altered T-cell fraction. We generated 4,620 T-cell lines from 34 relapsing-remitting MS patients (17 were fed bovine myelin daily), and each line was examined for proliferation to MBP, PLP, and TT and for secretion of IL-4, IFN-gamma, and TGF-beta1. The frequency of TGF-beta1-secreting T-cell lines after MBP and PLP stimulation in fed patients was greater than that of nonfed patients. These experiments demonstrate that oral tolerization with autoantigen results in altered cytokine secretion in a human autoimmune disease with the generation of TGF-beta1-secreting T cells that may regulate the inflammatory response at the site of the demyelinating lesions in multiple sclerosis. These data provide the first evidence of antigen-specific modification of cytokine secretion in a human autoimmune disease.

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