Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) may be an autoimmune disease mediated by T cells specific for a myelin protein. Investigations have demonstrated myelin basic protein (MBP)-reactive T cells that were activated in vivo in MS patients, suggesting that MBP may be a target antigen in MS. The variable (V) region of the T cell receptor (TCR) beta chain was examined among 83 T cell lines from both MS patients and healthy subjects that were reactive with the immunodominant region of human MBP (residues 84 to 102) or with a second immunodominant region of MBP (143 to 168). V beta 17 and to a lesser extent V beta 12 were frequently used in recognition of MBP(84-102) among different individuals. In contrast, V beta 17 was very infrequent among lines reactive with MBP (143-168). These data demonstrate shared TCR V beta gene usage for the recognition of immunodominant regions of the human autoantigen MBP. Such TCR structures may be used as targets for specific immunotherapy in MS.

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