High incidence of spontaneous autoimmune encephalomyelitis in immunodeficient anti-myelin basic protein T cell receptor transgenic mice

Cell. 1994 Aug 12;78(3):399-408. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(94)90419-7.


We have generated TCR transgenic mice (T/R+) specific for myelin basic protein (MBP) and crossed them to RAG-1-deficient mice to obtain mice (T/R-) that have T cells expressing the transgenic TCR but no other lymphocytes. Both T/R+ and T/R- mice carry, in the lymph nodes and spleen, large numbers of the potentially encephalitogenic CD4+ anti-MBP T cells. These cells respond to MBP in vitro but show no signs of activation in vivo. Nevertheless, approximately 14% of H-2u T/R+ and 100% of H-2u T/R- mice developed spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) within 12 months. These data indicate that EAE can be mediated by CD4+ anti-MBP T cells in the absence of any other lymphocytes and that nontransgenic lymphocytes that are present in T/R+ but absent in T/R- mice have a protective effect. The data also suggest that spontaneous EAE may be triggered by an in situ activation of CD4+ anti-MBP cells in the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Encephalomyelitis / immunology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Homeodomain Proteins*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myelin Basic Protein / immunology*
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology
  • Spleen / immunology


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Proteins
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • RAG-1 protein