Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a superantigen (SA) that up-regulates and then subsequently down-regulates and deletes T cells expressing Vβ8 T cell receptor (TcR) chains (Marrack and Kappler, 1990; Johnson et al., 1991). We have investigated the effect of SEB on experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in PL/J mice, where the predominant encephalitogenic T cells are Vβ8+ (Acha Orbea et al., 1988; Zamvil et al., 1988). SEB did not enhance induction of EAE when administered prior to or after immunization for EAE. PL/J mice pretreated with SEB developed anergy and deletion of Vβ8 bearing cells and concomitant reduction in the incidence of EAE. Following SEB pretreatment, a redistribution in the TcR utilization of MBP-specific lymphocytes occurred. As a result, there was a low frequency of Vβ8 and expansion of other, normally less frequent, myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific clones. These observations indicate that systemic exposure to superantigen can influence organ-specific autoimmune diseases. We observed Vβ-specific elimination, rather than activation, of autoimmune clones, a finding of potential therapeutic value. Modification of the TcR repertoire by systemic exposure to this SA indicates plasticity of immune reactivity and demonstrates a mechanism by which an environmental exposure (SEB) can influence a genetically determined, T cell mediated autoimmune disease.
- Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis
- T cell receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Clinical Neurology