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Encephalitogenic activity of myelin basic protein (MBP) isolated in a form retaining binding to all myelin lipids was tested in Lewis rats. Immunization with this new stable lipid-bound and native-like preparation (LB-MBP), induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) as intensively as the classical lipid free MBP (LF-MBP). During the course of the disease, high affinity specific response to LB-MBP and high frequency of LB-MBP specific precursors was observed in peripheral lymphoid organs, indicating that the disease occurred in presence of anti LB-MBP specific T-cell responsivity. Short term lines, generated from lymphocytes collected at the onset of the disease from LB-MBP immunized rats, showed a strong dose-dependent response to LB-MBP, but not to LF-MBP. The present data indicate that in rat, LB-MBP maintains encephalitogenic activity and induces expansion of a specific T-cell population. These data suggest also that LB-MBP is a new autoantigen that may be relevant in human diseases.
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Accepted: April 12, 1993
Received in revised form: March 8, 1993
Received: October 12, 1992
© 1993 Published by Elsevier Inc.