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EXS. 2014;104:73-88. doi: 10.1007/978-3-0348-0726-5_6.

Tools and methods for identification and analysis of rare antigen-specific T lymphocytes.

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Allergy Research Group, Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University Medical Center Freiburg, 79104, Freiburg, Germany,


T lymphocytes are essential as effector and memory cells for immune defense against infections and as regulatory T cells in the establishment and maintenance of immune tolerance. However, they are also involved in immune pathology being effectors in autoimmune and allergic diseases or suppressors of immunity in cancer, and they often cause problems in transplantation. Therefore, strategies are being developed that allow the in vivo amplification or isolation, in vitro expansion and genetic manipulation of beneficial T cells for adoptive cell therapies or for the tolerization, or elimination of pathogenic T cells. The major goal is to make use of the exquisite antigen specificity of T cells to develop targeted strategies and to develop techniques that allow for the identification and depletion or enrichment of very often rare antigen-specific naïve as well as effector and memory T cells. Such techniques are very useful for immune monitoring of T cell responses in diagnostics and vaccination and for the development of T cell-based assays for the replacement of animal testing in immunotoxicology to identify contact allergens and drugs that cause adverse reactions.

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