Induction of anergy in resting human T lymphocytes by immobilized anti-CD3 antibodies

H Wolf, Y Müller, S Salmen, W Wilmanns, G Jung

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48 Citations (Scopus)


How the T cell receptor (TcR)/CD3 complex mediates not only the induction of T cell activation but also suppressive effects like T cell anergy or apoptosis is not well understood. Here we describe a series of preincubation and restimulation experiments which demonstrate that primary stimulation of resting, unseparated human T cells with mitogenic doses of immobilized anti-CD3 antibodies induces hyporesponsiveness upon restimulation of the cells. Various costimuli can prevent this type of anergy to a variable degree if present during the preincubation period, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) being the most and anti-CD4 antibody the least effective. If employed together with anti-CD3 antibody during the restimulation phase of the assay, interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4 and anti-CD28 antibody break anergy almost completely. Proliferation induced by a submitogenic dose of anti-CD3 antibody supplemented by costimulatory signals (anti-CD2, anti-CD4, anti-CD28, IL-2, IL-4 or PMA) does not result in hyporesponsiveness. Taken together, these results support a modified view of the two-signal model for T cell activation according to which anergy induction in resting T cells occurs if primary proliferation is induced by high density triggering of the TcR/CD3 complex in the absence of accessory signals. We discuss possible implications of these findings for the induction of peripheral tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1410-7
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


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