A single amino acid substitution in the sequence of the encephalitogenic determinant for Lewis rats destroyed its ability to induce experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) but generated a potent immunoregulatory sequence capable of suppressing the development of both clinical and histologic signs of EAE. The EAE-inducing determinant (synthetic peptide S6) H-Ala-Gln-Gly-His-Arg-Pro-Gln-Asp-Glu-Asn-OH (residues 75 to 84) of the bovine MBP induced clinical and histologic signs of EAE when it was administered at doses of 0.5 micrograms or higher. Gly substituted for the C-terminal Asn during the synthesis of peptide S6 generated the homologous sequence designated by peptide S79. Peptide S79 failed to induce either clinical or histologic signs of EAE even when it was administered at dosages up to 1000 times higher than those of S6. Similarly, rats pretreated with a single dose of S79 were not only unresponsive to an encephalitogenic challenge but also were capable of transferring unresponsiveness to syngeneic recipients with viable donor lymphocytes. The induction of unresponsiveness that was abrogated by pretreatment with cyclophosphamide suggests the development of an S79-sensitive lymphocyte subset that regulates MBP-induced EAE in Lewis rats.

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