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Tolerance and auto-immunity: 50 years after Burnet

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Fifty years ago Sir F. Macfarlane Burnet published his first fundamental contribution to the theory of immune tolerance he perfected 10 years later. Since then an impressive amount of new information on the function of the immune system has been gathered. As any original meaningful theory, Burnet's hypothesis on the development of immune tolerance has undergone extensive modifications to take into account all these new findings. An improved understanding of the mechanisms of tolerance has led to new possibilities for the treatment of auto-immune diseases.

Conclusion All new information in the field of immune function is rooted in Burnet's contribution which set the stage for the development of modern immunology.

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Received: 15 December 1998 / Accepted: 20 April 1999

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Martini, A., Burgio, G. Tolerance and auto-immunity: 50 years after Burnet. Eur J Pediatr 158, 769–775 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004310051201

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  • Key words Immune tolerance
  • Auto-immunity