T cells from immunological memory to autoimmune disease
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] T cells are one of the key components of the acquired immune response. These cells are instrumental in fighting bacterial and viral infections. Unfortunately, T cells can also be responsible for aggressively attacking our own body, which can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and type I diabetes. In the dissertation presented here, both the good and the bad of T cell responses have been studied. T cell memory provides the fundamental basis for the function of vaccines. Upon encounter with a microbe or foreign substance, certain T cells are able to remain alive for very long periods of time and then confer an accelerated protection upon a second encounter with the same foreign element. In the first section of the dissertation, it is shown that cell division at the initial encounter is a controlling factor for the generation of functional memory T cells. In the second section, a therapeutic approach for the treatment of multiple sclerosis was examined. The lab has recently identified a novel therapy that uses antibodies to suppress disease in an animal model of human multiple sclerosis and here it was tested in a setting more relevant to the genetic complexity of humans. It is shown that the genetic background may have pronounced effects in not only susceptibility to disease, but also determining the effectiveness of treatment.
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