Background & Aims: Autoimmune responses against colonic epithelium may play a role in the development of colonic inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis (UC). In this study, we established and characterized B-cell lines and clones that produced anticolon antibody from inflamed colonic mucosa of UC subjects. Methods: B-cell lines were generated through Epstein-Barr virus transformation of lamina propria lymphocytes (LPLs) from colonic mucosa and peripheral blood lymphocytes, and these lines were screened for the production of anticolon antibodies. B-cell lines were then cloned by limiting dilution culture, and messenger RNA expression of immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region (VH) was assessed. Results: VH gene families used in B-cell lines established from LPLs of normal controls were diverse, and B-cell lines from UC LPLs expressed a restricted VH3 family usage. All 15 clones from UC used a restricted VH3 gene family, whereas diverse VH gene families were used by 24 clones from normal controls. The analysis of nucleotide sequences indicated that these clones were derived from various germline gene segments. Conclusions: The restricted VH gene usage in anticolon autoantibodies producing B-cell clones suggests that a particular antigenic stimulus contributes to the pathogenesis of UC.
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