Antibody and T cell-mediated immune responses to oligodendroglial autoantigens transaldolase (TAL) and myelin basic protein (MBP) were examined in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Immunohistochemical studies of postmortem brain sections revealed decreased staining by MBP- and TAL-specific antibodies in MS plaques, indicating a concurrent loss of these antigens from demyelination sites. By Western blot high titer antibodies to human recombinant TAL were found in 29/94 sera and 16/23 cerebrospinal fluid samples from MS patients. Antibodies to MBP were undetectable in sera or cerebrospinal fluid of these MS patients. Proliferative responses to human recombinant TAL (stimulation index [SI] = 2.47+/-0.3) were significantly increased in comparison to MBP in 25 patients with MS (SI = 1.37+/-0.1; P < 0.01). After a 7-d stimulation of PBL, utilization of any of 24 different T cell receptor Vbeta gene segments in response to MBP was increased less than twofold in the two control donors and six MS patients investigated. In response to TAL-H, while skewing of individual Vbeta genes was also less than twofold in healthy controls, usage of specific Vbeta gene segments was differentially increased ranging from 2.5 to 65.9-fold in patients with MS. The results suggest that TAL may be a more potent immunogen than MBP in MS.


E Colombo, K Banki, A H Tatum, J Daucher, P Ferrante, R S Murray, P E Phillips, A Perl


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