Superantigen modulation of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis: Activation or anergy determines outcome

Michael K. Racke, Laura Quigley, Barbara Cannella, Cedric S. Raine, Dale E. McFarlin, Dorothy E. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) is an autoimmune disease that can be induced by the adoptive transfer of CD4, myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific T cells. Superantigens activate T cells expressing appropriate TCR V genes. In this study, MBP-specific T cells activated in vitro with a superantigen, staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), could adoptively transfer a severe form of EAE in (PLxSJL)F1 mice, but did not transfer disease in PL/J or SJL/J mice. SEB treatment of donor mice anergized MBP-specific T cells using Vβ8 in (PLxSJL)F1 mice, because subsequent in vitro activation with SFB resulted in a marked decrease in proliferation to SEB and inability to transfer EAE. However, donor cells from (PLxSJL)F1 mice immunized with MBP/CFA that had been exposed to SEB in vivo before MBP stimulation in vitro still produced EAE in recipient mice. To confirm that non-Vβ8 T cells could transfer disease, donor mice were treated with antibody that eliminated Vβ8 T cells; MBP-activated T cells from these mice could still transfer EAE. Finally, EAE induced by SEB-activated T cells was substantially reduced in mice receiving anti-Vβ8 therapy in vivo. The ability of superantigens to activate encephalitogenic T cells may have relevance to human diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2051-2059
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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