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Rev Immunogenet. 2000;2(1):2-17.

T cell tolerance and autoimmunity.

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Ontario Cancer Institute, Toronto, Canada.


A functional immune system requires a T cell repertoire that is extremely diverse so as to allow for the elimination of all possible pathogens. However, the production of an immense T cell repertoire also increases the likelihood of generating autoreactive T cells. The immune system must therefore also incorporate a means of silencing or eliminating autoreactive T cells, while minimally sacrificing T cell diversity. The induction and maintenance of T cell unresponsiveness to self antigens is thus defined as T cell tolerance. This review provides an overview of the T cell tolerance mechanisms invoked in the thymus and in the periphery to prevent the induction of autoimmunity. Factors that can influence the induction of tolerance and autoimmunity are also discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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