Presentation by myoblasts of an epitope from endogenous acetylcholine receptor indicates a potential role in the spreading of the immune response.
Curnow J., Corlett L., Willcox N., Vincent A.
It is generally considered that myoblasts are unable to prime naive T cell responses without help from professional antigen-presenting cells (APC). However, their ability to present endogenous antigens to previously primed T lymphocytes in the secondary phase of a T cell response has not been well studied. We show here that primary human myoblasts, when stimulated with IFNgamma to express class II MHC, can present an endogenous epitope, probably an acetylcholine receptor (AChR) peptide, to a CD4(+) AChR-specific T helper lymphocyte clone. Presentation leads to secretion of IFNgamma by the T cell clone and, in addition, killing of the myoblast. Our results suggest that, during the effector phase of the immune response, myoblasts could enhance the inflammatory response by presenting endogenous antigen, and thereby become targets for CD4(+) T lymphocyte-induced cytotoxicity; subsequent release of myoblast antigens could then lead to inter- and intra-molecular determinant spreading.