Thyroid Autoantibodies Display both “Original Antigenic Sin” and Epitope Spreading

Article English OPEN
McLachlan, Sandra M. ; Rapoport, Basil (2017)
  • Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
  • Journal: Frontiers in Immunology, volume 8 (issn: 1664-3224, eissn: 1664-3224)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01845, doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.01845/full, pmc: PMC5742354
  • Subject: RC581-607 | thyrotropin receptor | intermolecular and intramolecular epitope spreading | thyroid peroxidase | Immunologic diseases. Allergy | thyroid autoantibodies | original antigenic sin | thyroglobulin | Review | Immunology | immunodominant region
    mesheuropmc: endocrine system | endocrine system diseases

Evidence for original antigenic sin in spontaneous thyroid autoimmunity is revealed by autoantibody interactions with immunodominant regions on thyroid autoantigens, thyroglobulin (Tg), thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and the thyrotropin receptor (TSHR) A-subunit. In contrast, antibodies induced by immunization of rabbits or mice recognize diverse epitopes. Recognition of immunodominant regions persists despite fluctuations in autoantibody levels following treatment or over time. The enhancement of spontaneously arising pathogenic TSHR antibodies in transgenic human thyrotropin receptor/NOD.H2h4 mice by injecting a non-pathogenic form of TSHR A-subunit protein also provides evidence for original antigenic sin. From other studies, antigen presentation by B cells, not dendritic cells, is likely responsible for original antigenic sin. Recognition of restricted epitopes on the large glycosylated thyroid autoantigens (60-kDa A-subunit, 100-kDa TPO, and 600-kDa Tg) facilitates exploring the amino acid locations in the immunodominant regions. Epitope spreading has also been revealed by autoantibodies in thyroid autoimmunity. In humans, and in mice that spontaneously develop autoimmunity to all three thyroid autoantigens, autoantibodies develop first to Tg and later to TPO and the TSHR A-subunit. The pattern of intermolecular epitope spreading is related in part to the thyroidal content of Tg, TPO and TSHR A-subunit and to the molecular sizes of these proteins. Importantly, the epitope spreading pattern provides a rationale for future antigen-specific manipulation to block the development of all thyroid autoantibodies by inducing tolerance to Tg, first in the autoantigen cascade. Because of its abundance, Tg may be the autoantigen of choice to explore antigen-specific treatment, preventing the development of pathogenic TSHR antibodies.
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