T-cell recognition of lipid peroxidation products breaks tolerance to self proteins

Immunology. 1999 Oct;98(2):273-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.1999.00872.x.


Peroxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acids in lipoproteins and cell membrane phospholipids occurs in many situations in the body, both under normal and pathological conditions. Low-density lipoprotein is particularly prone to oxidation and is believed to be a pathogenetic component in atherogenesis. Both antibody responses and T-cell responses to oxidatively modified lipoproteins have been demonstrated in humans as well as in animal models. However, little is known about how these responses arise or how T cells recognize these antigens. In the present study, mice were immunized with homologous albumin covalently modified with a series of defined aldehydes which are known to be generated during lipid peroxidation. T-cell hybridomas from immunized animals demonstrated major histocompatibility complex-restricted and protein sequence-dependent responses to modified albumin, but not to native albumin. In addition to the response to modified epitopes, some aldehyde modifications resulted in strong antibody responses also to the non-modified protein. This T-cell-dependent break of tolerance constitutes a novel pathway for induction of autoimmunity by lipid peroxidation. The findings have implications in many situations where lipid peroxidation products are generated, including atherosclerosis and inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Female
  • Hybridomas
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Lipid Peroxidation*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Self Tolerance / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Aldehydes
  • Antigens
  • Interleukin-2