MHC-Disease Associations and T Cell-Mediated Immunopathology

  • Rolf M. Zinkernagel


Major transplantation antigens coded by the major histocompatibility gene complex (MHC) play a key role in lymphocyte interactions and in immunological recognition. It has become clear over the last 10 years that MHC-gene products (i.e., HLA antigens in humans, H-2 in mice) restrict T-cell specificity or guide T-cell function according to well-established rules (Zinkernagel and Doherty, 1979; Paul and Benacerraf, 1977; Townsend and McMichael, 1984; Möller, 1977); T cells recognise foreign antigens only on cell surfaces and only together with self-transplantation antigens. T-cell function is determined and T-cell responsiveness is regulated by the class of MHC antigens recognised as self. Class I MHC genes (HLA-A,B,C, or H-2K,D,L) regulate activities of class I-restricted, cytotoxic T cells; class II MHC genes (i.e., HLA-D or H-2I) regulate class II-restricted, differentiation-promoting T cells such as helper T cells or T cells involved in delayed type hypersensitivity.


Celiac Disease Rabies Virus Lepromatous Leprosy Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rolf M. Zinkernagel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for PathologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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