Metal allergy is categorized as a delayed-type hypersensitivity reaction, and is characterized by the recruitment of lymphocytes into sites of allergic inflammation. Because of the unavailability of suitable animal models for metal allergy, the role of T cells in the pathogenesis of metal allergy has not been explored. Thus, we developed a novel mouse model for metal allergy associated with infiltration of T cells by multiple injections of palladium (Pd) plus lipopolysaccharide into the footpad. Using this model, we characterized footpad-infiltrating T cells in terms of phenotypic markers, T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires and cytokine expression. CD3+ CD4+ T cells accumulated in the allergic footpads 7 days after Pd challenge. The expression levels of CD25, interleukin-2, interferon-γ and tumor necrosis factor, but not interleukin-4 and interleukin-5, increased in the footpads after challenge, suggesting CD4+ T helper 1 (Th1) cells locally expanded in response to Pd. Infiltrated T cells in the footpads frequently expressed AV18-1 and BV8-2 T cell receptor (TCR) chains compared with T cells in the lymph nodes and exhibited oligoclonality. T-cell clones identified from Pd-allergic mouse footpads shared identical CDR3 sequences containing AV18-1 and BV8-2. These results suggest that TCR AV18-1 and BV8-2 play dominant and critical parts in the antigen specificity of Pd-specific Th1 cells.
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