The Role of Memory Suppressor T Cells in Self Tolerance: Induction inUtero and in Athymic Mice
Exposure of mice in adult life to foreign antigens such as human IgG (HGG) in tolerogenic form has been shown to result in generation of long-lived memory bearing suppressor T cells (Ts) as well as short-lived effector Ts (Loblay et al., 1983). In contrast to effector Ts, memory Ts are functionally silent until reactivated by secondary challenge of tolerant hosts with antigen which results in the rapid appearance of another wave of effector cells capable of preemptively inhibiting antibody production. A detailed study of these two suppressor cell populations has revealed that a key role can be attributed to memory (but not effector) Ts in maintenance of tolerance to HGG. Furthermore, when foetal mice are exposed to HGG via the placenta so that the antigen is handled by the developing immune system as if it were self, postnatal tolerance ensues and is associated with the parallel development of memory Ts (Fazekas de St Groth et al., 1984). Thus memory Ts may be important in mediating tolerance to self as well as nonself. This hypothesis is supported by the recent demonstration of Ts with specificity for self antigens such as C5 (Harris et al., 1982), myelin basic protein (Ada et al., 1977) and autologous erythrocytes (Cooke et al., 1978).
KeywordsFITC Rosen Encephalomyelitis
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- Loblay, R.H., Pritchard-Briscoe, H., Fazekas de St Groth, B. and Basten, A. (1983) Suppressor T cell memory. II. The role of memory suppressor T cells in tolerance to human gammaglobulin. J. exp. Med., 157: 957.Google Scholar