AutoImmune mechanisms involving T-Cell responses to (a) Myelin AutoAntigen(s), such as Myelin Basic Protein (MBP), are thought to contribute to the PathoGenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Cytokines may play a central role in the regulation of the pathogenic AutoImmune responses in MS and the mediation of tissue damage in the disease.
To study the Cytokine expression of Myelin reactive T-Cells in MS, we determined the Cytokine mRNA levels in a panel of blood derived MBP-specific T-Cell clones.
Derived from MS patients (33 clones) and normal controls (21 clones), using a novel quantitative RT-PCR method.
Our results demonstrate that MBP-specific T-Cells, both from MS patients and control subjects, predominantly display a Th1- or Th2-like Cytokine pattern.
Although MS clones express higher levels of TNF-alpha and IL-10 mRNA, these differences do not reach statistical significance.
Interestingly, significantly increased TNF- and IFN- mRNA levels were observed among clones derived from HLA-DR2 positive versus HLA-DR2 negative MS patients.
This HLA halpotype (DR2) is known to be associated with MS.
The high levels of TNF- and IFN- mRNA observed in MBP-reactive T-Cell clones from MS patients indicate an important role of these Cytokines in the disease process.
Our data lend further support to the Pathogenic role of MBP-reactive T-Cells in MS.