Administration of anti-interleukin-2 receptor alpha antibody in vivo induces localized autoimmune disease

Eur J Immunol. 1996 Jul;26(7):1608-12. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830260730.


Neonatal thymectomy (Tx) of mice at day 3 after birth (Tx-3), but not day 7 (Tx-7), induces organ-localized autoimmune diseases such as oophoritis and gastritis. Lesions in Tx-3 mice can be prevented by injection of splenic CD4+ cells from syngeneic normal mice, and this CD4+ population with suppressor activity is activated extrathymically by self antigens. Since it is speculated that these CD4+ T suppressor cells (Ts) express the interleukin-2 receptor (IL-2R) as an activated T cell population, an attempt was made to eliminate these Ts from the developing immune system of Tx-7 mice and normal mice by i.p. injection of anti-IL-2R alpha monoclonal antibodies. Interestingly, organ-localized autoimmune disease with quite similar characteristics to those observed after neonatal Tx developed in not only Tx-7 mice, but also normal mice. The results thus indicate that CD4+ cells expressing IL-2R alpha play an important role, as Ts in the periphery, in maintaining immune tolerance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Animals, Newborn / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / metabolism
  • Clonal Deletion
  • Female
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred A
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Nude
  • Organ Specificity / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / immunology*
  • Thymectomy


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2