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To delineate the contribution of L3T4+ and Lyt-2+ cells in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune thyroiditis (EAT), synergistic pairs of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) to the T cell subsets were used in conjunction with the adoptive transfer of mouse thyroglobulin (MTg)-activated cells from immunized mice. Initial experiments verified the important role of L3T4+ cells in the transfer of EAT. Subsequent experiments pointed to the relative contribution of both L3T4+ and Lyt-2+ cells, depending on the stage and extent of disease development. Treatment during disease with L3T4, but not Lyt-2, mAb alone significantly reduced thyroiditis. However, in situ analysis of the cellular infiltrate in thyroid sections revealed that, after treatment with mAb, the appropriate subset was eliminated without altering the amount of the other subset in the remaining lesion. In addition, treatment during severe thyroiditis following the transfer of MTg-activated lymph node cells showed that Lyt-2 mAb alone also reduced thyroid infiltration. When the recipients were pretreated with either pair of mAb before transfer, disease development was only moderately affected. We conclude that (i) donor L3T4+ cells are the primary cells responsible for the initial transfer and development of thyroiditis; and (ii) previous in vitro cytotoxicity data, plus current monoclonal antibody treatment of disease and in situ analysis, further implicate a role for Lyt-2+ cells in EAT pathogenesis.


Journal article


Cell Immunol

Publication Date





377 - 390


Animals, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Antigen-Antibody Reactions, Antigens, Ly, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Immunization, Passive, Immunotherapy, Lymph Nodes, Mice, Mice, Inbred CBA, Spleen, T-Lymphocytes, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer, Thyroglobulin, Thyroiditis, Autoimmune