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Nat Rev Immunol. 2002 Jul;2(7):487-98.

Selection and fine-tuning of the autoimmune T-cell repertoire.

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Institute of Cell, Animal and Population Biology, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK.


The immune system must avoid aggressive T-cell responses against self-antigens. But, paradoxically, exposure to self-peptides seems to have an important role in positive selection in the thymus and the maintenance of a broad T-cell repertoire in the periphery. Recent experiments have highlighted situations that allow high-avidity self-reactive T cells to avoid negative selection in the thymus. Accumulating evidence indicates that other, non-deleting mechanisms control the avidity with which T cells recognize self-antigens--a phenomenon that is known as 'tuning'. This might maximize the peripheral T-cell repertoire by allowing the survival of T cells that can respond to self, but only at concentrations that are not normally reached in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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