Implications of lymphocyte anergy to glycolipids in multiple sclerosis (MS): iNKT cells may mediate the MS infectious trigger
Hogan, Edward L.
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Immunogenic lipids may play key roles in host defenses against infection and in generating autoimmune inflammation and organ-specific damage. In multiple sclerosis (MS) there are unequivocal autoimmune features and vulnerability to aggravation or induction by microbial or viral infection. We have found glycolipid-driven anergy of circulating lymphocytes in MS indicating that this immune response is affected in MS and the robust effects of iNKT activation with potent cellular and cytokine activities emphasizes its potential importance. Diverse glycolipids including the endogenous myelin acetylated-galactosylceramides (AcGalCer) can drive activation that could be critical to the inflammatory demyelination in the central nervous system and clinical consequences. The iNKT cells and their invariant or iTCR (Vα24Jα18Vβ11) constitute an innate defense−a discrete immune arm that is separate from peptide-driven acquired immune responses. This offers new possibilities for insight including a likelihood that the pattern recognition of exogenous microbial and myelin immunogens can overlap and cross-react especially in an inflammatory milieu.
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