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Encephalitogenic T cell clones specific for myelin basic protein. An unusual bias in antigen recognition.


Class II-restricted T cell clones specific for myelin basic protein (MBP) have been generated from PL/J and (PL/J X SJL/J)F1 [((PLSJ)F1] mice following sensitization to rat MBP. Of 17 T cell clones generated from (PLSJ)F1 mice, 5 are I-Au(A alpha uA beta u) restricted, one is restricted to I-As(A alpha sA beta s), 10 are restricted to hybrid I-A(u X s)F1 (A alpha sA beta u) determinants, and one clone is restricted to hybrid I-E(u X s) (E alpha uE beta s) molecules. Thus, of 16 I-A-restricted T cell clones generated from (PLSJ)F1 mice, only one is I-As-restricted, reflecting a lack of priming to MBP in association with I-As. T cell clones restricted to I-Au and to I-E (E alpha u E beta s) molecules recognize mouse (self) MBP. Furthermore, only the five T cell clones restricted to I-Au molecules recognize a determinant in common with mouse (self) MBP within the encephalitogenic N-terminal peptide. Three such I-Au restricted T cell clones, derived independently, cause paralysis in 100% of (PL/J X SJL/J)F1 mice tested. Acute, chronic unremitting, and chronic relapsing paralysis are all induced following injection of these clones. Administration of greater numbers of cloned T cells causes acute and fatal experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, while administration of lower numbers of cloned T cells is associated with chronic unremitting and relapsing paralysis. Paralysis induced with T cell clones shares many clinical, immunologic, and histologic aspects with human demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Histopathology reveals perivascular lymphocytic infiltration, demyelination, and remyelination. These studies demonstrate the utility of T cell clones for analyzing the association between class II major histocompatibility complex molecules and disease susceptibility.

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