T cell anergy

Janine M LaSalle, David A. Hafler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


T cell clonal anergy is a proposed mechanism of immunologic self tolerance in which T cells become functionally inactivated after previous stimulation. MHC class II-restricted antigen presentation by different cell types has been speculated to have a role in determining activation vs. anergy in responding T cells. Human T cells express MHC class II after activation and have been shown to present high concentrations of degraded peptide antigen to autologous T cells resulting in clonal anergy. In contrast to low antigen dose T cell clonal anergy, which occurs in the absence of costimulation, T cell anergy induced by human T cell presentation of antigen results in both primary proliferation and secondary unresponsiveness to high-dose antigenic stimulation. Although clonal anergy was previously thought to prevent autoreactive T cells from ever responding to self antigen presented without costimulation, we postulate that T cell presentation of antigen represents a 'fail-safe' mechanism of immunologic self tolerance that would anergize clonally expanded autoreactive T cells when they are surrounded by a high extracellular concentration of degraded self antigen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-608
Number of pages8
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • anergy
  • antigen presentation
  • autoimmunity
  • T lymphocyte
  • tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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