Evidence from in vitro studies that tolerance to self antigens is MHC-restricted

Nature. 1984 Apr;308(5961):741-4. doi: 10.1038/308741a0.


Mature T cells respond to foreign antigens in the context of self major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-encoded products: T helper cells recognize antigen in the context of class II molecules, while cytotoxic T cells (CTL) recognize antigen plus class I molecules. Recent evidence suggests that the MHC-restricted T cell is unable to recognize either the foreign antigen or the self-MHC product alone, but only a complex of the two. Unresponsiveness to self antigens--self tolerance--implies the deletion or suppression of clones of T cells having reactivity to self antigens. Here we demonstrate the presence in normal mice of T cells which recognize self antigens together with allogeneic MHC products. This finding suggests the MHC restriction of T-cell recognition during the entire process of T-cell ontogeny, that is, MHC restriction of self tolerance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Female
  • H-2 Antigens / genetics*
  • Immune Tolerance*
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology


  • H-2 Antigens