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Control of Autoimmunity by Regulatory T Cells

  • Ethan M. Shevach
  • Rebecca S. McHugh
  • Angela M. Thornton
  • Ciriaco Piccirillo
  • Kannan Natarajan
  • David H. Margulies
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 490)

Abstract

The development of autoimmune disease involves a breakdown in the mechanisms that control self vs non-self discrimimation. The primary mechanism that leads to self tolerance is thymic deletion of autoreactive T cells, but thymic deletion is not perfect and autoreactive T cells do escape to the periphery. Cells that escape thymic deletion are then subject to mechanisms of peripheral tolerance including the induction of anergy t as well as T cell ignorance/indifference of the recognition of autoantigens. However, anergy can be reversed and ignorant T cell populations have the potential to be activated when their target self-antigens are released into the lymphoid system during the course of an infectious insult or when activated by cross-reactive antigens present on infectious agents. Passive mechanisms for the induction of self tolerance may therefore be insufficient to control the activation of autoreactive T cells. Evidence has recently been obtained for an active mechanism of immune suppression in which a distinct subset of T cells suppresses the activation of autoreactive T cells that have escaped the other mechanisms of tolerance induction. Two experimental models have been developed which have allowed the definition of unique populations of regulatory T cells. In one model, autoimmunity is induced by depletion of regulatory T cells from adult animals, while in the second model, the development of regulatory T cells is abolished in neonatal animals.

Keywords

Suppressor Cell Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Autoimmune Gastritis Suppressor Cytokine Gastric Lymph Node 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ethan M. Shevach
    • 1
  • Rebecca S. McHugh
    • 1
  • Angela M. Thornton
    • 1
  • Ciriaco Piccirillo
    • 1
  • Kannan Natarajan
    • 1
  • David H. Margulies
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of ImmunologyNational Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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