Multiple sclerosis: distribution of T cell subsets within active chronic lesions

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Science  21 Jan 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4582, pp. 308-310
DOI: 10.1126/science.6217550


The distribution of T cells and T cell subsets was examined within the human central nervous system in active lesions from seven patients with chronic multiple sclerosis. The monoclonal antibodies anti-T11, anti-T4, and anti-T8 were used to detect total (whole) T cells, helper T cells, and suppressor-cytotoxic T cells, respectively, and a monoclonal antibody against human Ia was used for macrophages and B cells. Lesion progression was associated with large numbers of T4+ cells at the lesion margin and these extended great distances into the adjacent normal-appearing white matter. T8+ cells were most commonly concentrated around the lesion margin and displayed a preferential perivascular distribution. Within the lesion center, only a few T cells were found. Ia+ macrophages were most numerous within the centers of active lesions and were always present in the adjacent normal white matter. The monoclonal antibodies to T cells did not cross-react with glial cells including oligodendrocytes. These results indicate that T4+ cells are actively involved in lesion extension and Ia+ cells, in demyelination.