Immunologic Research

, Volume 50, Issue 2–3, pp 124–129 | Cite as

Dendritic cells and the maintenance of self-tolerance

  • Penelope A. MorelEmail author
  • Michael S. Turner


Dendritic cells (DC) play important roles in the initiation of immune responses and in the maintenance of self-tolerance. We have been studying the role of DC in the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and exploring the ability of specific DC subsets to prevent diabetes in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. DC presenting low doses of antigen are capable of inducing and expanding T-regulatory (Treg) cells that have potent suppressive function. We review here our recent findings in this area and highlight the ability of semi-mature therapeutic DC to induce Treg expansion in the absence of exogenous antigen. We discuss how the presentation of endogenous self-antigen by DC may represent a natural mechanism for peripheral self-tolerance that can be harnessed to prevent autoimmunity.


Dendritic cells Regulatory T cells Type 1 diabetes 



The authors would like to thank Huijie Sun for expert technical assistance. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant CA73743 (PAM) and National Institutes of Health training grant 5T32 CA82084 (MST).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Immunology and MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia MasonSeattleUSA

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