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The V-region disease hypothesis: evidence from autoimmune encephalomyelitis.
Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis has been shown to have an immunological basis. In fact, the disease can be induced by T cells specific for myelin basic protein, a molecule found in abundance in the central nervous system. In this article, Ellen Heber-Katz and Hans Acha-Orbea discuss the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire of the encephalitogenic T-cell response, and show that a limited V gene pool, in fact a single V beta and two V alpha families, are being used by the PL/J and B10.PL mice and by every rat strain examined, even though the antigenic determinants and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules are different in all cases. This extraordinary finding suggests that the TCR is involved in encephalitogenicity in a way that not only involves the recognition of antigen in association with MHC, but also as an effector molecule that results in encephalitis. If this is true, it implies that TCRs, in general, play more than one role in mammalian physiology.
Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental/immunology, Humans, Major Histocompatibility Complex, Mice, Multiple Sclerosis/immunology, RNA, Messenger/analysis, Rats, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/genetics, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology
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