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Nat Immunol. 2002 Dec;3(12):1208-13. Epub 2002 Nov 4.

Dominant transplantation tolerance impairs CD8+ T cell function but not expansion.

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Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, University of Oxford, UK.


Alloreactive CD8+ T cells may persist in animals made tolerant of transplanted tissues; their function is controlled through continuous censorship by regulatory CD4+ T cells. We sought to establish the stage at which such censorship operates. We found that monospecific CD8+ T cells introduced into tolerant animals responded to the tolerated tissue antigen as if they had received CD4+ T cell "help": they proliferated and accumulated normally. However, they did show compromised graft rejection, interferon-gamma production and cell-mediated cytotoxicity. These findings suggest that tolerance mediated by regulatory T cells acts by censoring immune effector functions rather than by limiting the induction of T cell responses.

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