CD8(+) T-cell autoreactivity to an HLA-B27-restricted self-epitope correlates with ankylosing spondylitis

J Clin Invest. 2000 Jul;106(1):47-53. doi: 10.1172/JCI9295.


HLA-B27 is highly associated with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), but the mechanism is unknown. Among the HLA-B27 alleles, B*2709, which differs by one amino acid from the susceptible B*2705, is not associated with the disease. Here, we analyze the reactivity, in patients with AS and in healthy controls carrying the B*2709 or B*2705 alleles, to an EBV epitope derived from LMP2 (236-244) and to a sequence-related self-peptide from vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor 1 (VIP1R 400-408). We found that both B*2705(+) and B*2709(+) subjects possess LMP2 236-244-specific, HLA-B27-restricted T cells, whereas only the B*2705(+) individuals respond significantly to VIP1R 400-408. These results prompted us to compare, by IFN-gamma ELISPOT analysis, the T-cell response to VIP1R 400-408 in patients with AS versus B*2705 healthy controls. The data show that VIP1R 400-408-specific reactivity is a major feature of the patients with AS. These findings show, for the first time to our knowledge, a widespread reactivity in patients with AS against a self-epitope that exhibits some features of a putative "arthritogenic" peptide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation
  • Autoimmunity*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Epitopes
  • HLA-B27 Antigen / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide / immunology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / etiology
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / immunology*


  • Epitopes
  • HLA-B27 Antigen
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide