It is well known that individuals positive for particular HLA-class II alleles show high risks for the development of Takayasu arteritis and other diseases caused by immunological disorders such as autoimmune diseases and allergies. HLA class II molecules present antigenic peptides to CD4+T cells. Their extensive polymorphism affects the structures of peptides bound to HLA class II molecules to create individual differences in immune responses to antigenic peptides. To better understand the mechanisms for association between HLA class II alleles and susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, it is important to identify self-peptides presented by disease-susceptible HLA class II molecules and triggering disease-causative T cells. Many autoimmune diseases are observed in all ethnic groups, whereas the incidences of diseases, clinical manifestations and disease-susceptible HLA class II alleles are different among various ethnic groups for some autoimmune diseases. These phenomena suggest that differences in autoimmune self- peptide(s) in the context of disease-susceptible HLA class II molecules may cause these differences. Therefore, comparisons among disease-susceptible HLA class II alleles, autoimmune self-peptides and clinical manifestations of autoimmune diseases in different ethnic groups would be helpful in determining the pathogenesis of the diseases. In this paper, we describe our recent findings on: (1) the uniqueness of both clinical manifestations and HLA-linked genetic background of Asian-type (optico-spinal form) multiple sclerosis; (2) the structural characteristics of peptides bound to HLA-DQ molecules susceptible to insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus; (3) the identification of a disease-related autoantigenic peptide presented by disease-susceptible HLA-DQ molecules in Asians-specific infant onset myasthenia gravis; and (4) a manipulation of human T cell response by altered peptide ligands, as a possible candidate for new and antigen-specific immuno- suppressive therapy against autoimmune diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine