Could TCR antagonism explain associations between MHC genes and disease?

Trends Mol Med. 2003 Apr;9(4):139-46. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4914(03)00029-7.


Alleles of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci are associated with certain types of diseases, including those of infectious and autoimmune origin. MHC products can promote susceptibility or resistance to disease by stimulating or inhibiting immune responses. Recent evidence suggests that MHC-associated peptides derived from self-proteins can act as antagonists of T-cell activation, thereby inhibiting immune responses to antigens. We suggest that self-peptide-promoted antagonism might explain some associations between MHC alleles and particular chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • HLA Antigens / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity / physiology
  • Ligands
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex / genetics*
  • Peptides / immunology
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism*


  • HLA Antigens
  • Ligands
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell