The demyelination process that occurs in the central nervous system of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is, in part, due to an inflammatory response in which CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and macrophages infiltrate white matter. Although many studies have characterized myelin protein-specific CD4+ T cells, we have demonstrated that CD8+ CTL specific for myelin peptides can be identified. In the present study, the potential roles of these CD8+ CTL in the generation of the inflammatory responses associated with MS have been investigated by measuring the capacity of these T cells to secrete the following proinflammatory chemokines: macrophage inflammatory protein-1alpha (MIP-1alpha) and MIP-1beta, lymphocyte chemoattractant factor (IL-16), IFN-inducible protein-10, as well as the proinflammatory enzymes of the matrix metalloproteinase family. The CD8+ CTL lines tested are derived from MS patients and are specific for two different myelin proteolipid protein-derived peptides presented by HLA-A2 and HLA-A3. All of the 17 CD8+ CTL lines secreted detectable amounts of MIP-1alpha and MIP-1beta. Nine of twelve CTL lines tested secreted IL-16, 10 of 12 lines tested secreted IFN-inducible protein-10, and 14 of 16 lines tested secreted matrix metalloproteinase-9. Collectively, these results indicate that myelin proteolipid protein peptide-specific CD8+ CTL may be an important source of proinflammatory soluble mediators that could promote and mediate the inflammatory response in MS demyelination.

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