TCR peptide therapy decreases the frequency of encephalitogenic T cells in the periphery and the central nervous system

Arthur A. Vandenbark, Margarita Vainiene, Bozena Celnik, George Hashim, Halina Offner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Vβ8 CDR2 consensus peptide, residues 44-54, is highly effective in the treatment of clinical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in Lewis rats. To monitor immunological changes during EAE resulting from TCR peptide therapy, the frequencies of encephalitogenic and regulatory T cells were quantitated in lymph nodes, blood, and spinal cord. The frequency of T cells specific for basic protein and its major encephalitogenic epitope, residues 72-89, increased during EAE to about 1 cell per 100 000 lymph node or blood cells at the peak of clinical disease, and then declined. In contrast, the frequency of these T cells in spinal cord was highest, 50 per 100 000, prior to onset of clinical signs, and then decreased rapidly prior to spontaneous recovery. Injection of 100 μg of TCR Vβ8-44-54 peptide caused a decrease within 1-5 days in the frequencies of guinea pig basic-protein (GP-BP) and 72-89-reactive T cells in blood and spinal cord, and in the total number of infiltrating cells in spinal cord. In lymph nodes, 72-89-reactive T cells decreased as T cells specific for a protective epitope, residues 55-69 of GP-BP increased, suggesting epitope switching at the site of GP-BP immunization. Conversely, the frequency of T cells specific for the Vβ8-44-54 peptide increased, especially in blood and spinal cord, whereas T cell frequencies to control antigens were unchanged. These data document the critical presence of encephalitogenic T cells within the spinal cord during clinical EAE, and demonstrate that rapid and profound changes in T cell frequencies in the periphery and spinal cord are triggered by TCR peptide therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1992


  • Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
  • Myelin basic protein
  • T cell frequency
  • TCR peptide therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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