The presentation of self and allogeneic MHC peptides to T lymphocytes

Hum Immunol. 1998 Sep;59(9):540-8. doi: 10.1016/s0198-8859(98)00059-7.


The presentation of donor-derived MHC peptides by recipient APCs to T cells is an essential component of the rejection of allografts (indirect allorecognition). Initial alloreactive T cell response is confined to a few well processed and presented dominant determinants on donor MHC. However, during long-term graft rejection, T cell response spreads to formerly poorly presented cryptic allogeneic MHC peptides. This phenomenon is likely to play an important role in the amplification and the perpetuation of the rejection process. Additionally, we present evidence that T cell repertoire selection to allogeneic MHC peptides is acquired via recognition of self-MHC peptides presented in the thymus during ontogeny. Supporting this view, we have shown that indirect alloresponses can lead to self-T cell tolerance breakdown to cross-reactive determinants on self-MHC molecules or alternatively that sensitization of recipients to self-MHC peptides can lead to accelerated graft rejection. It is therefore essential to determine the factors which govern the processing and presentation of self and allogeneic MHC molecules and to elucidate the mechanisms regulating subsequent T cell responses in order to design antigen-specific based immune therapies in transplantation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antigen Presentation*
  • Autoantigens / immunology*
  • HLA Antigens / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Isoantigens / immunology*
  • Self Tolerance / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Autoantigens
  • HLA Antigens
  • Isoantigens