T cell tolerance by clonal elimination in the thymus

Cell. 1987 Apr 24;49(2):273-80. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(87)90568-x.


The monoclonal antibody KJ23a reacts with T cell receptors utilizing the V beta segment V beta 17a. T cells bearing V beta 17a+ receptors react with very high frequency with the MHC class II protein, IE. In this paper we show that T cells expressing V beta 17a are selectively eliminated from the peripheral T cell and mature thymocyte pool of mice expressing IE, but are present in expected numbers in the immature thymocyte population of such animals. These results show that in normal animals tolerance to self-MHC is due to clonal elimination rather than suppression. In addition, they indicate that tolerance induction may occur in the thymus at the time immature thymocytes are selected to move into the mature thymocyte pool.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / genetics
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / immunology
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell