Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

Genetic restriction of autoreactive acetylcholine receptor-specific T lymphocytes in myasthenia gravis.

PMID 2411794


Human autoreactive helper T lymphocytes with specificity for acetylcholine receptor (AChR) were isolated from three HLA-DR3-positive patients who had myasthenia gravis (MG), an autoimmune disease known to be associated with HLA-DR3 in the North European population. The antigen-specific T cells were evaluated for genetic restriction. Antigen presentation studies were performed with mitomycin C-treated accessory cells from a panel of HLA-typed unrelated donors. AChR-induced proliferation of the autoreactive T cells was maximal in the presence of autologous or HLA-DR-compatible antigen-presenting cells. In two DR-heterozygous patients both parental DR specificities served as restriction elements of the polyclonal AChR-reactive T cell populations. Preferential restriction to HLA-DR3 was observed in one patient, but this was also seen with PPD-specific T cells from the same donor. A series of monoclonal antibodies against HLA class II molecules was used for inhibition experiments. The inhibitory effects of the antibodies were not due to unspecific toxicity and could be observed after separate treatment of the antigen-presenting cells but not of the responding T cells. Several monoclonal antibodies against monomorphic HLA-DR determinants (DA 231, MAS 53, MAS 54, L243, OKIa1) had pronounced inhibitory effects. Anti-HLA-DQ(DC) monoclonal antibodies (Leu-10; TU 22) had only mild or no inhibitory effects in two patients but significantly inhibited AChR-specific T cells in one patient. A monoclonal antibody against HLA-DR3 (antibody 16.23) was not or was only weakly inhibitory in the DR3-positive patients, although it bound to autologous T line cells and B cells by indirect immunofluorescence. In one patient it was possible to compare the inhibition patterns of AChR-specific and PPD-specific T cells. Most of the monoclonal antibodies affected AChR- and PPD-specific T cells to a similar extent, but three antibodies (TU 22, 36, 39) inhibited PPD-specific T cells more than AChR-specific T cells, indicating the possibility of differential restriction of antigen- and autoantigen-specific T cells. It is suggested that the in vitro system described here may be helpful for the evaluation of anti-HLA class II antibodies as potential immunotherapeutic reagents.

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16-23, Reactivity: Anti-HLA-DR3 and DR52a