Inhibition of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in Lewis rats by nasal administration of encephalitogenic MBP peptides: synergistic effects of MBP 68-86 and 87-99.Int Immunol 1998; 10(8):1139-48II
Induction of mucosal tolerance by inhalation of soluble peptides with defined T cell epitopes is receiving much attention as a means of specifically down-regulating pathogenic T cell reactivities in autoimmune and allergic disorders. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) induced in the Lewis rat by immunization with myelin basic protein (MBP) and Freund's adjuvant (CFA) is mediated by CD4+ T cells specific for the MBP amino acid sequences 68-86 and 87-99. To further define the principles of nasal tolerance induction, we generated three different MBP peptides (MBP 68-86, 87-99 and the non-encephalitogenic peptide 110-128), and evaluated whether their nasal administration on day -11, -10, -9, -8 and -7 prior to immunization with guinea pig MBP (gp-MBP) + CFA confers protection to Lewis rat EAE. Protection was achieved with the encephalitogenic peptides MBP 68-86 and 87-99, MBP 68-86 being more potent, but not with MBP 110-128. Neither MBP 68-86 nor 87-99 at doses used conferred complete protection to gp-MBP-induced EAE. In contrast, nasal administration of a mixture of MBP 68-86 and 87-99 completely blocked gp-MBP-induced EAE even at lower dosage compared to that being used for individual peptides. Rats tolerized with MBP 68-86 + 87-99 nasally showed decreased T cell responses to MBP reflected by lymphocyte proliferation and IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays. Rats tolerized with MBP 68-86 + 87-99 also had abrogated MBP-reactive IFN-gamma and tumor necrosis factor-alpha mRNA expression in lymph node cells compared to rats receiving MBP 110-128 nasally, while similar low levels of MBP-reactive transforming growth factor-beta and IL-4 mRNA expressing cells were observed in the two groups. Nasal administration of MBP 68-86 + 87-99 only slightly inhibited guinea pig spinal cord homogenate-induced EAE, and passive transfer of spleen mononuclear cells from MBP 68-86 + 87-99-tolerized rats did not protect naïve rats from EAE. Finally, we show that nasal administration of MBP 68-86 + 87-99 can reverse ongoing EAE induced with gp-MBP, although higher doses are required compared to the dosage needed for prevention. In conclusion, nasal administration of encephalitogenic MBP peptides can induce antigen-specific T cell tolerance and confer incomplete protection to gp-MBP-induced EAE, and MBP 68-86 and 87-99 have synergistic effects. Non-regulatory mechanisms are proposed to be responsible for tolerance development after nasal peptide administration.