Pathologic role and temporal appearance of newly emerging autoepitopes in relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Carol L. Vanderlugt, Katherine L. Neville, Kelly M. Nikcevich, Todd N. Eagar, Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Stephen D. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (R-EAE) is a CD4+ T cell-mediated demyelinating disease model for multiple sclerosis. Myelin destruction during the initial relapsing phase of R-EAE in SJL mice initiated by immunization with the proteolipid protein (PLP) epitope PLP139-151 associated with activation of T cells specific for the endogenous, non-cross- reactive PLP178-191 epitope (intramolecular epitope spreading), while relapses in R-EAE induced with the myelin basic protein (MBP) epitope MBP84-104 are associated with PLP139-151-specific responses (intermolecular epitope spreading). Here, we demonstrate that T cells specific for endogenous myelin epitopes play the major pathologic role in mediating clinical relapses. T cells specific for relapse-associated epitopes can serially transfer disease to naive recipients and are demonstrable in the CNS of mice with chronic R-EAE. More importantly, induction of myelin- specific tolerance to relapse-associated epitopes, by i.v. injection of ethylene carbodiimide-fixed peptide-pulsed APCs, either before disease initiation or during remission from acute disease effectively blocks the expression of the initial disease relapse. Further, blockade of B7-1-mediated costimulation with anti-B7-1 F(ab) during disease remission from acute PLP139-151-induced disease prevents clinical relapses by inhibiting activation of PLP178-191-specific T cells. The protective effects of anti-B7-1 F(ab) treatment are long-lasting and highly effective even when administered following the initial relapsing episode wherein spreading to a MBP epitope (MBP84-104) is inhibited. Collectively, these data indicate that epitope spreading is B7-1 dependent, plays a major pathologic role in disease progression, and follows a hierarchical order associated with the relative encephalitogenic dominance of the myelin epitopes (PLP139-151 > PLP178-191 > MBP84-104).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-678
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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