Establishment of tolerance in myasthenia gravis (MG) involves regulatory T (Treg) cells. Experimental autoimmune MG (EAMG) in rats is a suitable model for assessing the contribution of Treg cells to the immunopathology of the disease and for testing novel Treg cell-based treatment modalities. We have studied two immunotherapeutic approaches for targeting of Treg cells in myasthenia. By one approach we demonstrated that treatment of sick rats by ex vivo-generated exogenous Treg cells derived from healthy donors suppressed EAMG. By a different approach, we aimed at affecting the endogenous Treg/Th17 cell balance by targeting IL-6, which has a key role in controlling the equilibrium between pathogenic Th17 and suppressive Treg cells. We found that treatment of myasthenic rats by neutralizing anti-IL-6 antibodies shifted this equilibrium in favor of Treg cells and led to suppression of EAMG. Our results show that Treg cells could serve as potential targets in treating MG patients.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences|
|State||Published - Dec 2012|
- Experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis
- Th17 cells