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Limited heterogeneity of autoantigens and T cells in autoimmune diseases?
Research in Immunology
For many induced and spontaneous autoimmune diseases, a predominant role for T cells in the organ-specific destruction process has been shown. In one of the induced models of autoimmunity, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), a very small heterogeneity of T-cell receptor (TcR) molecules is expressed by the pathogenic T cells in both rats and mice. Contrary to induced autoimmune diseases, little is known about the autoantigens recognized by these autoimmune T cells and the heterogeneity of their TcR in spontaneous autoimmune diseases. The aim of this work was to establish a system which allows characterization of relevant autoantigens in spontaneous insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. A completely different approach was taken to characterize the gene products of the minor lymphocyte stimulatory (Mls) loci. These gene products are responsible for the clonal elimination or the clonal stimulation of T cells expressing particular TcR V beta genes and therefore could be implicated in induction of autoimmune diseases by oligoclonal T-cell populations. The finding that Mls antigens are encoded by retroviral sequences leads to the hypothesis that viruses could be the inducing agents of autoimmune diseases.
Animals, Autoantigens/immunology, Autoimmune Diseases/immunology, Autoimmunity/immunology, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1/immunology, Disease Models, Animal, Major Histocompatibility Complex/immunology, Mice, Mice, Inbred NOD, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell/immunology, T-Lymphocytes/immunology
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