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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 17

of 'Transverse myelitis'

Activation and clonal expansion of human myelin basic protein-reactive T cells by bacterial superantigens.
Zhang J, Vandevyver C, Stinissen P, Mertens N, van den Berg-Loonen E, Raus J
J Autoimmun. 1995;8(4):615.
Autoreactive T cells specific for myelin basic protein (MBP) are part of the normal T cell repertoire and are present both in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and healthy individuals. There is evidence suggesting in vivo activation and persistent clonal expansion of MBP-reactive T cells in MS. This study was undertaken to investigate the potential role of bacterial superantigens (SA) in the activation of MBP-reactive T cells. Twenty-seven MBP-reactive T cell clones generated from 10 MS patients and one normal individual were examined for reactivity to SA, in association with their T cell receptor V beta gene usage. The majority of the clones responded to at least one of the SA tested, staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEA and SEB) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1). The clones reactive to SEA and SEB expressed various V beta genes while T cell reactivity to TSST-1 correlated with the V beta 2 expression. Furthermore, circulating MBP-reactive T cells could be expanded from lymphocyte cultures primarily exposed to respective SA in more than 50% of MS patients and normal individuals tested. However, activation and expansion of circulating MBP-reactive T cells by SA was not directly associated with the disease. This study lends support to the potential role of SA in the activation of MBP-reactive T cells and suggests that an altered regulatory mechanism may account for further expansion and persistence of MBP-reactive T cells in MS.
Multiple Sclerosis Research and Immunology Unit, Dr. Willems Instituut, Diepenbeek, Belgium.