A shared antigenic determinant between natural killer cells and nervous tissue

Nature. 1983 Nov 10-16;306(5939):179-81. doi: 10.1038/306179a0.


Considerable evidence for shared antigenic determinants between nervous elements and lymphocytes has accumulated. It has also been suggested that this cross-recognition may be involved in the pathogenesis of human neurological diseases such as myasthenia gravis and multiple sclerosis. We report here evidence that a marker for natural killer (NK) cells, anti-Leu-7 (HNK-1), specifically binds to components of human and rodent central nervous tissue as well as peripheral nervous tissue, especially to myelin sheaths. In contrast, another NK-cell marker (VEP13) did not react with nervous tissue. Since NK-cell function is impaired in a population of multiple sclerosis patients, the observed cross-reactivity indicates that autosensitization against myelin may simultaneously cause a defect of NK-cell function. Furthermore, the shared antigenic determinant may help to identify a hitherto undefined nervous tissue antigen and simultaneously increase the knowledge about the nature of NK-cell antigens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Cross Reactions
  • Epitopes
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Myelin Sheath / immunology*
  • Nervous System / immunology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / immunology
  • Rats
  • Spinal Cord / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes