Aktivierung und Differenzierung von T-Lymphozyten durch Infektion und Autoimmunität
Clinical, epidemiological, and experimental data suggest that infections can sometimes trigger or exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis. To date, the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading from infection to autoimmunity have not been defined. The molecular mimicry hypothesis proposes that crossreactive lymphocytes that recognize both self- and microbial antigens are key factors in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity. According to the molecular mimicry hypothesis, sequence identity or marked sequence similarity between self- and microbial antigens is the cause of such crossreactivity. We have examined the molecular mimicry hypothesis systematically in two different models: treatment-resistant Lyme arthritis and experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE). The major findings were: i) crossreactivity at the level of peptide recognition by T cells is far more frequent than previously expected; ii) structural criteria rather than sequence similarity determine cross-recognition; iii) immunoregulatory mechanisms normally prevent pathogenic effects mediated by crossreactive lymphocytes. Thus, the idea that crossrecognition of a defined microbial peptide and a particular self-peptide would explain autoimmunity is most likely too simple. The other major topic of this work was the immunological analysis of T1/ST2, a Th2-specific molecule that we characterized. Here, we could show that T1/ST2 is expressed on Th2 but not Th1 cells. Furthermore, T1/ST2 expression can be used to identify sites of ongoing Th2 reactions directly ex vivo. Most importantly, T1/ST2 is important for Th2 effector functions: crosslinking of T1/ST2 via a T1/ST2-specific monoclonal antibody induces proliferation and type 2-cytokine production. In vivo, administration of the soluble antibody against T1/ST2 ameliorates the immunological parameters of bronchial hyperreactivity in a murine model of asthma. Thus, T1/ST2 is a candidate target for therapeutic immunomodulation of diseases such as allergy and asthma.
Document Full Text
School:Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:Autoimmunität Kreuzreaktivität T1/ST2 Infection Autoimmunity Allergy T-lymphocytes cross-reactivity Lyme Disease Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis
Date of Publication:05/29/2001