Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced by immunization to the basic protein of central nervous system myelin (BP) is a paralytic disease in which T lymphocytes attack the individual's own central nervous system1. As the target is in white matter, EAE has been considered an experimental model of some aspects of human disease such as multiple sclerosis. To investigate whether autoimmune T lymphocytes could produce paralysis, we studied the effects on the electrophysiology of isolated nerves produced by T-lymphocyte lines reactive specifically to BP or other antigens. We now report that propagation of action potentials evoked by electrical stimulation was blocked by incubating optic nerves with specific anti-BP T cells. This blockade could be reversed for up to two hours by removing the anti-BP line cells from the optic nerve. The anti-BP line cells had no effect on conduction along allogeneic optic nerves or syngeneic peripheral nerves. This indicates that disruption of the function of myelin in neuroimmunological disease may result from an immunologically specific interaction between autoimmune T lymphocytes and myelin antigens.
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Yarom, Y., Naparstek, Y., Lev-Ram, V. et al. Immunospecific inhibition of nerve conduction by T lymphocytes reactive to basic protein of myelin. Nature 303, 246–247 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1038/303246a0
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