The relationship between surface marker expression and encephalitogenicity of lymphocytes from various lymphoid organs of Lewis rats was studied. The encephalitogenicities after culture with BP were spleen cells > lymph node cells ≫ thymus cells, in this descending order. The cells from every lymphoid organ proliferated significantly in response to BP. In spleen and lymph node cells, the expression of W3/25 and OX-3 molecules on T cells increased markedly after culture with BP, but the expression of OX-19 or OX-8 molecules did not change significantly. The up-regulations of W3/25 and OX-3 molecules were more pronounced in spleen cells than in lymph node cells. Thymus cells also showed a significant increase in the W3/25 molecule after the culture with BP. Therefore, T cells from all the lymphoid organs showed a selective up-regulation of the W3/25 molecule after culture with BP, and the degree of the up-regulation seems to correspond to the encephalitogenic potency in vivo. Since the W3/25 molecule apparently plays a direct role in the effector phase of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) by enhancing BP-reactive T cell/antigen-presenting cell interaction in the central nervous system, the up-regulation on BP-cultured T cells may strengthen interaction with the class II major histocompatibility complex molecule on antigen-presenting cells, and therefore, contribute to the efficient transfer of EAE.
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