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J Autoimmun. 1994 Dec;7(6):697-710.

Delayed kinetics of T lymphocyte anergy and deletion in lpr mice.

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Department of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington 05405-0068.


The Fas/APO-1 (Fas) antigen is a cell surface protein that mediates apoptosis and belongs to the tumor necrosis factor receptor family. The lymphoproliferative (lpr) anomaly in mice results from a retroviral disruption within the fas gene. Mice that are homozygous for the lpr mutation accumulate large numbers of T lymphocytes and exhibit an autoimmune syndrome resembling systemic lupus erythematosus. A possible explanation for this process is that in the absence of Fas antigen, lpr T cells may be resistant to normal peripheral deletional signals. The bacterial superantigen staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) rapidly induces anergy and deletion by apoptosis of reactive T lymphocytes in normal mice. Administration of SEB to adult lpr mice results in the delayed induction of both unresponsiveness and deletion of V beta 8+ lymph node cells. This is not due merely to an increased thymic output in lpr mice; the delayed induction of tolerance and elimination of reactive lpr T cells by superantigens are intrinsic properties of the cells. The progressive lymphadenopathy in lpr mice may reflect a process of lymphoaccumulation rather than lymphoproliferation. A delay in tolerance induction and elimination of self-reactive T cells could have profound influence on the autoimmune diathesis of lpr mice.

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