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T cells as a cause of autoimmunity.

In autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, the immune system attacks the body, and one goal of researchers is to determine what step in the complex immune system progression goes awry. The popular theory about lupus, says William E. Seaman, is that B cells, antibody-producing cells that are normally controlled by T cells, become independent of T cells. Now, he reports, "our studies show that's not true."

He and David Wofsy of the University of California at San Francisco injected three strains of mice prone to lupus with monoclonal antibodies against T cells. In one of the three strains, the disease disappeared, indicating T cell involvement in the condition, they report in the February JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE. The finding is in agreement with a report in the Jan. 25 SCIENCE in which Stanford University researchers described reversing an experimentally induced autoimmune disease in mice by using monoclonal antibodies against T cells.

While Seaman expects that the T cell dependence also holds for humans, he doesn't think monoclonal antibody therapy is ready for use. Stopping the helper T cells may leave a person open to infections or possibly cancer, he says.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 16, 1985
Words:192
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