T cell receptor peptide therapy triggers autoregulation of experimental encephalomyelitis

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Science  25 Jan 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4992, pp. 430-432
DOI: 10.1126/science.1989076


Encephalitogenic T cells specific for myelin basic protein share common V beta 8 peptide sequences in their T cell receptor (TCR) that can induce autoregulatory T cells and antibodies that prevent clinical signs of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). It is not known, however, if TCR peptides can treat established disease. To test its therapeutic value, TCR-V beta 8-39-59 peptide was injected into rats with clinical signs of EAE. This treatment reduced disease severity and speeded recovery, apparently by boosting anti-V beta 8 T cells and antibodies raised naturally in response to encephalitogenic V beta 8+ T cells. These results demonstrate that synthetic TCR peptides can be used therapeutically, and implicate the TCR-V beta 8-39-59 sequence as a natural idiotope involved in EAE recovery. Similarly, human TCR peptides may be effective in enhancing natural regulation of autoreactive T cells that share common V genes.

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