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J Immunol. 2005 Apr 15;174(8):4657-61.

Fetal expression of Fas ligand is necessary and sufficient for induction of CD8 T cell tolerance to the fetal antigen H-Y during pregnancy.

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  • 1Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-1360, USA. vacchio@nih.gov


Interaction of Fas with Fas ligand (FasL) is known to play a role in peripheral tolerance mediated by clonal deletion of Ag-specific T cells. We have assessed the requirement for Fas/FasL interactions during induction of tolerance to the fetus. Using H-Y-specific TCR transgenic mice, we have previously demonstrated that exposure of maternal T cells to H-Y expressed by male fetuses results in deletion of 50% of H-Y-specific maternal T cells. The remaining H-Y-specific T cells were hyporesponsive to H-Y as assayed by decreased proliferative ability and CTL activity. To determine whether Fas/FasL interactions contribute to induction of maternal T cell tolerance, responsiveness to fetal H-Y was assessed in H-Y-specific TCR transgenic pregnant females that were deficient in functional Fas or FasL. Surprisingly, both deletion and nondeletion components of tolerance were abrogated in TCR transgenic H-Y-specific lpr (Fas-deficient) or gld (FasL-deficient) pregnant females. Experiments further revealed that expression of FasL by the fetus, but not by the mother, is necessary and sufficient for both components of maternal T cell tolerance to fetal Ags. Fas interaction with fetal FasL is thus critical for both deletion and hyporesponsiveness of H-Y-reactive CD8+ T cells during pregnancy.

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