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Immunology. 1994 Dec;83(4):562-7.

Failure of SCID mice to generate an oral tolerogen after a feed of ovalbumin: a role for a functioning gut-associated lymphoid system.

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  • 1Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Institute of Child Health, London, UK.


The role of the mucosal immune system in the generation of circulating tolerogenic ovalbumin (OVA) moieties has been investigated after a single feed of the protein. Serum collected from SCID mice 1 hr after a 25-mg feed of OVA was unable to transfer tolerance of delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) into naive BALB/c recipients. This is in contrast to serum collected from BALB/c mice which was able to transfer DTH tolerance to naive BALB/c recipients. The levels of circulating OVA detected in the serum of SCID mice 60 min after feeding OVA were approximately half those detected in the serum of BALB/c mice at the same time-point. However even dose adjustment of SCID mouse serum to a level of immunoreactive OVA equivalent to that found in BALB/c serum was unable to induce DTH tolerance in BALB/c recipients. This failure of SCID serum to transfer tolerance was shown to be unrelated to the germ-free conditions under which SCID mice are kept. Serum from OVA-fed germ-free BALB/c mice transferred DTH tolerance at equivalent levels to serum from conventionally reared BALB/c mice. When the intestinal morphology and intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL) numbers in the duodenum of SCID mice were compared to conventionally reared and germ-free BALB/c controls, SCID mice were characterized by a lower number of IEL with a different morphology from the majority of IEL found in BALB/c mice.

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