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Nature. 2005 Jun 2;435(7042):598-604.

Regulation of immunity by self-reactive T cells.

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La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, 10355 Science Center Drive, San Diego, California 92121, USA.


A basic principle of immunology is that lymphocytes respond to foreign antigens but tolerate self tissues. For developing T cells, the ability to distinguish self from non-self is acquired in the thymus, where the majority of self-reactive cells are eliminated. Recently, however, it has become apparent that some self-reactive T cells avoid being destroyed and instead differentiate into specialized regulatory cells. This appears to be beneficial. Subpopulations of self-reactive T cells have a strong influence on self tolerance and may represent targets for therapeutic intervention to control a variety of autoimmune diseases, tumour growth and infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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