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Immunol Today. 2000 Feb;21(2):95-9.

The third function of the thymus.

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


Nonresponsiveness of mammalian T cells to self-antigens is not totally accounted for in terms of clonal deletion, T-cell anergy and T-cell ignorance: studies have shown that the T-cell repertoire of healthy individuals contains cells with the potential to cause autoimmune disease. This article describes a T-cell-mediated mechanism that prevents the realization of this potential and indicates how its failure can lead to the development of autoimmunity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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