Intracerebral infection of susceptible mice with Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus results in immune-mediated inflammatory demyelination in the white matter and consequent clinical symptoms. This system has been utilized as an important virus model for human multiple sclerosis. Although the potential involvement of virus-specific Th cells has been studied extensively, very little is known about the nature of T cells infiltrating the CNS during vital infection and their role in the development of demyelinating disease. In this study, the clonal nature of T cells in the spinal cord during the disease course was analyzed using size spectratyping and sequencing of the TCR β-chain CDR3 region. These studies clearly indicate that T cells are clonally expanded in the CNS after viral infection, although the overall TCR repertoire appears to be diverse. The clonal expansion appears to be Ag-driven in that it includes Th cells specific for known viral epitopes. Interestingly, such restricted accumulation of T cells was not detectable in the infiltrates of mice with proteolipid protein peptide-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. The initial T cell repertoire (7-9 days postinfection) seems to be more diverse than that observed in the later stage (65 days) of virally induced demyelination, despite the more restricted utilization of Vβ subfamilies. These results strongly suggest continuous stimulation and clonal expansion of virus- specific T cells in the CNS of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus- infected mice during the entire course of demyelinating disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy