Alpha tropomyosin as a self-antigen in patients with Behçet's disease

S. P. Mahesh, Zhuqing Li, R. Buggage, F. Mor, I. R. Cohen, E. Y. Chew, Robert B. Nussenblatt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report for the first time a significant increased lymphoproliferative response to alpha tropomyosin as well as observing autoantibodies to tropomyosin observed in Behçet's disease (BD) patients with posterior uveitis. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 18 BD patients with posterior uveitis, 18 patients with other forms of noninfectious uveitis, 9 patients with retinal damage due to photocoagulation as well as 18 healthy donors were evaluated for antigen-specific lymphoproliferative responses to alpha tropomyosin and its derivative peptides. The proliferative responses of PBMCs to these antigens were studied using 3H thymidine incorporation assay. Serum samples were also screened by ELISA for autoantibodies against tropomyosin. Six of the 18 (33%) BD patients with posterior uveitis showed increased proliferative response to alpha tropomyosin or its derivative peptides, while none of the healthy, disease controls were positive. The mean lymphoproliferative responses to tropomyosin were significantly higher (P < 0·02) in the BD patients compared to healthy or disease controls. Higher titres of anti-tropomyosin antibodies were also seen in four of the 18 BD patients but none in the healthy or disease control groups (P < 0·002). The occurrence of these abnormalities supports a possible role for alpha tropomyosin as a self-antigen in a subset of patients with Behçet's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-375
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Alpha tropomyosin
  • Autoantibody
  • Autoantigen
  • Behçet's disease


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