Background/aims: H+,K(+)-adenosine triphosphatase (H+,K(+)-ATPase) of parietal cells is an organ-specific enzyme recognized by autoantibodies found in human and murine autoimmune gastritis (AIG). Murine AIG can be induced in BALB/c mice by thymectomy 3 days after birth and is a T cell-mediated disease. This study examined the specificity of T cells that cause AIG and the role of H+,K(+)-ATPase in this disease.
Methods: From an AIG mouse, a gastritogenic T-cell clone (II-6) was established, and its reactivity to synthetic peptides of H+,K(+)-ATPase was tested.
Results: II-6 cells are CD4+, V beta 14+, and interferon gamma producers. Adoptive transfer of II-6 cells to syngeneic nude mice resulted in AIG without the production of autoantibodies to parietal cells. The II-6 cells were responsive not only to murine but also to human and porcine parietal cells. Their proliferation was also induced by amino acids 891-905 (alpha 891) and 892-906 (alpha 892) of the alpha subunit of porcine and human H+,K(+)-ATPase, respectively.
Conclusions: The T-cell response to a single epitope of H+,K(+)-ATPase, the amino acid sequence of which is conserved among at least three mammals tested, is sufficient to cause AIG. Autoantibodies to parietal cells are not detected in these AIG mice.