Oral administration of myelin basic protein is superior to myelin in suppressing established relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.J Immunol. 1999 May 15; 162(10):6247-54.JI
Oral administration of a myelin component, myelin basic protein (MBP), induces immunological unresponsiveness to CNS Ags and ameliorates murine relapsing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (REAE). However, a recent clinical trial in which multiple sclerosis patients were treated with repeated doses of oral myelin was unsuccessful in reducing disease exacerbations. Therefore, we directly compared the tolerizing capacity of myelin vs MBP during REAE in B10.PL mice. Oral administration of high doses of myelin, either before disease induction or during REAE, did not provide protection from disease or decrease in vitro T cell responses. In contrast, repeated oral administration of high doses of MBP suppressed established disease and MBP-specific T cell proliferation and cytokine responses. The frequency of IL-2-, IFN-gamma-, and IL-5-secreting MBP-specific T cells declined with MBP feeding, implicating anergy and/or deletion as the mechanism(s) of oral tolerance after high Ag doses. We have previously shown that the dosage and timing of Ag administration are critical parameters in oral tolerance induction. Studies presented here demonstrate that Ag homogeneity is also important, i.e., homogeneous Ag (MBP) is more effective at inducing oral tolerance than heterogeneous Ag (myelin).