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Nat Immunol. 2002 Mar;3(3):244-50. Epub 2002 Feb 11.

Impairment of immunological memory in the absence of MHC despite survival of memory T cells.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Immunology, The National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.

Abstract

The mechanisms by which immunological memory is maintained after infection or vaccination are still a matter of debate. Long-term survival of memory T cells does not require major histocompatibility complex (MHC) contact. We show here that compared with memory CD4+ T cells that maintain contact with MHC class II, memory CD4+ T cells deprived of MHC class II contact show distinct functional defects upon antigen re-encounter. Thus, in contrast to their survival, maintenance of the typical quality of memory T cells crucially depends on MHC-derived signals.

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