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Kidney Int. 1993 Nov;44(5):1030-5.

Stimulated renal tubular epithelial cells induce anergy in CD4+ T cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.


Renal tubular epithelial cells (TEC) can express MHC class II molecules in vitro and in vivo. Their ability to also secrete cytokines and express adhesion molecules suggests a possible immune accessory role for TEC. We have previously documented that TEC process and present antigen to T cell hybridomas. However, engagement of the T cell receptor alone is sufficient to induce IL-2 secretion by T cell hybridomas. We now report that presentation of antigen by TEC to a CD4+ T cell clone results in functional inactivation of the T cells. Despite antigen-specific anergy, these T cells are viable and proliferate in response to IL-2. Furthermore, allogeneic antigen presenting cells were unable to restore the T cell proliferative response, suggesting that the mechanism(s) was not entirely costimulator-dependent.

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