HLA-DQ allele-restricted activation of nitroso sulfamethoxazole-specific CD4-positive T lymphocytes from patients with cystic fibrosis

M O Ogese, K Saide, L Faulkner, P Whitaker, D Peckham, A Alfirevic, D M Baker, A Sette, M Pirmohamed, B K Park, D J Naisbitt
Clinical and Experimental Allergy: Journal of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2015, 45 (8): 1305-16

BACKGROUND: For certain HLA allele-associated drug hypersensitivity reactions, the parent drug has been shown to associate directly with the risk allele. In other forms of hypersensitivity, HLA risk alleles have not been identified and T cells are activated in an allele unrestricted manner. Chemically reactive drug metabolites bind to multiple proteins; thus, it is assumed that the derived peptide antigens interact with a number of HLA molecules to activate T cells; however, HLA restriction of the drug metabolite-specific T-cell response has not been studied.

OBJECTIVE: To utilize T cells from sulfamethoxazole (SMX) hypersensitive patients with cystic fibrosis to examine the HLA molecules that interact with nitroso SMX (SMX-NO)-derived antigens.

METHODS: T-cell clones were generated from 4 hypersensitive patients. Drug-specific proliferative responses and cytokine secretion were measured. Anti-human class I and class II antibodies were used to analyse HLA restriction. Antigen-presenting cells expressing different HLA molecules were used to determine the alleles involved in the presentation of SMX-NO-derived antigens to T cells.

RESULTS: A total of 976 clones were tested for SMX-NO reactivity. Thirty-nine CD4+ clones were activated with SMX-NO and found to proliferate and secrete cytokines. The SMX-NO-specific response was blocked with an antibody against HLA-DQ. SMX-NO-specific responses were detected with antigen-presenting cells expressing HLA-DQB1*05:01 (patient 1) and HLA-DQB1*02:01 (patient 2), but not other HLA-DQB1 alleles.

CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: HLA-DQ plays an important role in the activation of SMX-NO-specific CD4+ T cells. Detection of HLA-DQ allele-restricted responses suggests that T cells are activated by a limited repertoire of SMX-NO-modified peptides.

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