Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV)-induced demyelinating disease serves as a relevant animal model of human multiple sclerosis. Myelin damage induced by TMEV infection appears to be immune mediated. Disease susceptibility correlates best with the temporal development of chronic, high levels of TMEV-specific, MHC class II-restricted delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. We have proposed a model wherein these responses result in CNS demyelination via a macrophage-mediated terminal nonspecific bystander response. As virus-specific DTH responses appear to be intimately involved in the pathogenicity of CNS demyelination, it is critical to determine the specificity of these responses so that effector T cells specific for potential pathogenic epitopes can be targeted to serve as the focus of specific immunoregulatory processes. In the current study, the capsid protein specificity of the TMEV-susceptible SJL/J and TMEV-resistant C57BL/6 mouse strains was examined. DTH and Tprlf responses in both infected and immunized SJL/J mice were found to be predominantly directed toward the VP2 capsid protein, specifically to an epitope(s) contained within the N-terminal 150 amino acids of VP2. This same epitope was also found to be dominant in priming SJL/J mice for responses to challenge with intact virions. In contrast, the T cell-mediated responses of TMEV-resistant C57BL/6 mice did not show preferential reactivity towards VP2, because all three major capsid proteins (VP1, VP2, and VP3) elicited responses with essentially equal potency. The relationship of the restricted VP2 T cell epitope to predicted neutralizing antibody sites on the VP2 protein is discussed as is the potential use of this epitope for prevention and/or treatment of TMEV-induced demyelinating disease via the induction of epitope-specific tolerance.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy