Recombinant TCR ligand induces tolerance to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55 peptide and reverses clinical and histological signs of chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in HLA-DR2 transgenic mice.
Vandenbark AA., Rich C., Mooney J., Zamora A., Wang C., Huan J., Fugger L., Offner H., Jones R., Burrows GG.
In a previous study, we demonstrated that myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-35-55 peptide could induce severe chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in HLA-DR2(+) transgenic mice lacking all mouse MHC class II genes. We used this model to evaluate clinical efficacy and mechanism of action of a novel recombinant TCR ligand (RTL) comprised of the alpha(1) and beta(1) domains of DR2 (DRB1*1501) covalently linked to the encephalitogenic MOG-35-55 peptide (VG312). We found that the MOG/DR2 VG312 RTL could induce long-term tolerance to MOG-35-55 peptide and reverse clinical and histological signs of EAE in a dose- and peptide-dependent manner. Some mice treated with lower doses of VG312 relapsed after cessation of daily treatment, but the mice could be successfully re-treated with a higher dose of VG312. Treatment with VG312 strongly reduced secretion of Th1 cytokines (TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) produced in response to MOG-35-55 peptide, and to a lesser degree purified protein derivative and Con A, but had no inhibitory effect on serum Ab levels to MOG-35-55 peptide. Abs specific for both the peptide and MHC moieties of the RTLs were also present after treatment with EAE, but these Abs had only a minor enhancing effect on T cell activation in vitro. These data demonstrate the powerful tolerance-inducing therapeutic effects of VG312 on MOG peptide-induced EAE in transgenic DR2 mice and support the potential of this approach to inhibit myelin Ag-specific responses in multiple sclerosis patients.