Antigen-specific T cell activation and proliferation during oral tolerance induction

Jiaren Sun, Bernadette Dirden-Kramer, Komei Ito, Peter B. Ernst, Nancy Van Houten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


One of several routes of achieving immnnologic tolerance is through functional inactivation of Ag-specific T cells. Oral administration of Ag can allow survival of the Ag-specific T cells that are functionally anergic. The aim of this study was to investigate whether functional inactivation of Ag- specific T cells is directed through an activation process and to further define the differentiative pathways and functional characteristics of anergic T cells. Mice were transplanted with OVA-specific TCR-transgenic T cells and either fed OVA or immunized s.c. with the OVA peptide 323-339 in CFA. OVA- specific T cells from OVA-fed mice were unresponsive to restimulation in vitro within 48-72 h after treatment. In vivo, however, T cell proliferation was detected by 5,6-carboxy-succinimidyl-fluoresceine-ester intensity changes in OVA-specific T cells. The mesenteric lymph nodes (LNs) from OVA-fed mice more frequently contained OVA-specific dividing cells in vivo than those in the peripheral LNs, and the reciprocal was observed following s.c. immunization of the OVA peptide in CFA. The induction of anergy in OVA-fed mice was accompanied by rapid up-regulation of CD69 and CTLA-4, later down- regulation of CD45RB on OVA-specific T cells, and a marked decrease in T cell secretion of IL-2, IL-10, and IFN-γ after OVA restimulation in vitro. Results from this study indicate that the inductive phase of oral tolerance is preceded by Ag-specific T cell activation in vivo, proliferation in the regional draining LNs, and differentiation into a memory-like state. These results indicate that Ag-directed differentiation occurs as a part of T cell tolerance through anergy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5868-5875
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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