Virus-reactive and autoreactive T cells are accumulated in cerebrospinal fluid in multiple sclerosis

Hans Link*, Jia Bin Sun, Zhengyu Wang, Zhenyi Xu, Arthur Löve, Sten Fredrikson, Tomas Olsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated numbers of B cells-plasma cells secreting antibodies to measles and mumps virus, and to myelin associated glycoprotein (MAG), one of several putative myelin autoantigens-have previously been reported in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), while it is unknown if corresponding T cell reactivities occur. We have defined the T cell reactivities to measles and mumps virus and to MAG in an immunospot assay which is based on the detection of secretion of interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) by single cells upon stimulation with specific antigen in short term cultures. Patients with MS had higher numbers of MAG-reactive T cells in blood compared to controls, while no differences were observed for measles or mumps virus-reactive T cells. In CSF, elevated numbers of MAG-reactive T cells and also of measles- and mumps-reactive T cells were found in patients with MS compared to other neurological diseases. A strong accumulation of antigen-reactive T cells was observed in the MS patients' CSF compared to blood. The magnitude of these T cell reactivities did not correlate with clinical MS variables. The T cell repertoire in MS thus includes, besides myelin basic protein, proteolipid protein and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, also MAG and, in addition, measles and mumps virus. It is not clear whether these T cell reactivities accumulated in the CSF have importance for the pathogenesis of MS or reflect phenomena secondary to myelin damage, or result from both these alternatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-73
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the Swedish Medical Research Council, the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Society (NHR), the Swedish Cancer Foundation and funds from Karolinska Institutet. The secretarial help of Ms. Yvonne Nilsson is highly appreciated.

Other keywords

  • Interferon-γ
  • Measles virus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelin associated glycoprotein
  • T lymphocytes


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