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Eur J Immunol. 1994 Feb;24(2):285-93.

Tolerance induction as a multi-step process.

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Tumor Immunology Program, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg.


Tolerant T cells are characterized by their partial or full resistance to activation by antigen. We investigated whether tolerant T cells were still receptive to further tolerogenic signals. T cells expressing a transgenic T cell receptor (TCR) specific for the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecule Kb were deleted in mice carrying Kb but not in mice expressing the mutant Kb-molecule Kbm1 [TCR (H-2bm1 x k) mice]. These T cells were tolerant in vivo but could be activated in vitro by the Kb antigen. This in vitro reactivity was abolished after the tolerant T cells encountered Kb-positive cells that had been intravenously injected. Furthermore, in TCR (H-2bm1 x k) mice expressing Kb only on hepatocytes, no T lymphocytes bearing the transgenic TCR could be found in the periphery, indicating that the additional contact with Kb on hepatocytes led to deletion of the tolerant T cells. These findings demonstrate that tolerance induction can be a multi-step process.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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