question/autoreactive Tcells

psycler at psycler at
Fri Sep 30 00:07:13 EST 1994

Laurie Holtz (lmholtz at wrote:
: Hi,
: I am hoping someone here will help me to better understand a 
: research publication I have.
: What are CD4+ autoreactive T lymphocytes?
: I know very well what a lymphocyte is, btw, I just need to know 
: what the "autoreactive" means.
: I'm assuming CD4+ is a classification?
: Why are T cells stimulated in culture with irradiated 
: splenocytes?
: Thank you for your assistance!

Autoreactive means they specifically recognize non-foreign or self
antigens that are presented to the T cell by an antigen presenting
cell that has expressed a complex of MHC with that self antigen
bound to it on its cell surface. (Sorry-long sentence)

Normal individuals are considered immunologically tolerant to self
antigens. Examples of autoreactive immunity are multiple sclerosis,
lupus, diabetes melitus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  In the case of diabetes
for example, the autoreactive T cells recognize antigens found in
islet cells of the pancreas and the cascade of events following this
recognition throws off the ability of these cells to produce
insulin.  Hence, disease.

In order to identify these autoreactive T cells, one must analyze
their response to antigens in vitro.  The measurement used in
the culture stimulation is cell division which indicates T cell-
antigen recognition.  The splenocytes (in mouse or rat studies) are
your antigen presenting cells and radiation renders them unable to
divide, hence eliminating background cell division.  Therefore a
positive result would indicate the division of T cells only.
Email me if this is not clear.  Have you read 8-94 Sci. American?

Psycler @T@~
                                             psycler at

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