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J Immunol. 1991 Apr 1;146(7):2152-60.

Transient T and B cell activation after neonatal induction of tolerance to MHC class II or Mls alloantigens.

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Department of Pathology, CMU, Geneva, Switzerland.


The neonatal injection of semiallogeneic F1 spleen cells into newborn parental mice results in the induction of tolerance to the corresponding alloantigen (alloAg) and chimerism. In these F1 cell-injected mice, we have previously observed that this state of specific tolerance is associated with the development of a transient lupus-like autoimmune syndrome. In this study, we show that neonatal injection of mice with spleen cells differing from the host at major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, class II, class (I + II), or minor lymphocyte stimulating (Mls) alloAg induced a state of specific tolerance characterized by the absence of alloreactive CTL and/or Th cell responses in the spleen and the thymus of 6- to 12-week-old injected mice. However, in mice rendered tolerant to MHC class II or class (I + II) alloAg, the presence of high levels of IgG1 antibodies, of circulating immune complexes, of anti-ssDNA autoantibodies, and of tissue lesions were transiently observed. In these mice, an increased Ia Ag expression on lymphoid spleen cells was also detected at 1 wk. The elevated production of IgG1 and the overexpression of Ia Ag were almost completely prevented by treatment with an anti-IL-4 mAb. Such manifestations of B cell activation and autoimmunity were not observed in mice neonatally injected with F1 cells differing from the host only at MHC class I Ag. In mice neonatally tolerized to Mls Ag, a transient increase in IgG2a production and an overexpression of Ia Ag were detected without features of autoimmunity, and were prevented by anti-INF-gamma mAb treatment. In mice rendered tolerant to MHC class II, class (I + II), or Mls alloAg at birth, the manifestations of B cell activation were associated with the presence of in vivo-activated alloreactive CD4+ T cells in the spleen--but not the thymus--of 1-wk-old injected mice. Together, these results suggest that in mice neonatally injected with semiallogeneic F1 cells, the process of tolerance induction is not efficient during the early postnatal period, and could allow the maturation and peripheralization of some alloreactive CD4+ T cells, leading to transient B cell activation and, depending on the alloAg, to autoimmunity.

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