JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, NON-P.H.S.
RESEARCH SUPPORT, U.S. GOV'T, P.H.S.
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Detection and treatment of activated T cells in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration.

Annals of Neurology 2000 January
Patients with paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration (PCD) offer the opportunity to explore the mechanisms underlying tumor immunity and immune-mediated neuronal degeneration. Cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) specific for the PCD onconeural antigen cdr2 found in the blood of patients with PCD are likely to be effectors of PCD tumor immunity. Here, we suggest a role for CTLs in the autoimmune destruction of Purkinje neurons. More than 75% of the cells obtained from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of PCD patients were CD3+ alphabeta T cells. In patients with active/progressive disease, 20% to 40% of CSF cells were activated T cells, and the CD4+ helper cells were Th1-type cells. Three PCD patients were given tacrolimus, a specific inhibitor of activated T cells, which markedly reduced these cells in the CSF. Tacrolimus also reduced the number of activated cdr2-specific CTLs in the peripheral blood, but did not lead to tumor recurrence. We suggest that activated cdr2-specific CTLs in the CSF contribute to Purkinje degeneration in PCD, and that tacrolimus therapy may benefit patients with paraneoplastic neurological disease and other T cell-mediated autoimmune neurological disorders.

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