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J Immunol. 1999 Feb 15;162(4):1994-8.

Intranasally induced immunological tolerance is determined by characteristics of the draining lymph nodes: studies with OVA and human cartilage gp-39.

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Department of Cell Biology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Mucosal tolerance is a naturally occurring immunological phenomenon that prevents harmful inflammatory responses to ingested or inhaled environmental, predominantly nondangerous, Ags. The nasal mucosa is an extremely efficient compartment in the induction of immunological tolerance which can be exploited in Ag-specific treatment of autoimmune disease. With the use of a model Ag (OVA) and an Ag implicated in the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (human cartilage gp-39), we here show in a mouse model that the superficial cervical and internal jugular lymph nodes that drain the nasal mucosa are instrumental in the induction of tolerance. Removal of these lymph nodes abrogates tolerance induction, which can be restored by transplantation of superficial cervical lymph nodes, but not of peripheral lymph nodes. The results indicate that lymph nodes that directly drain the nasal mucosa constitute a unique microenvironment which favors the induction of immunological tolerance.

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