The need for central and peripheral tolerance in the B cell repertoire

Science  15 Jun 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4961, pp. 1373-1379
DOI: 10.1126/science.2356469


The immune system normally avoids producing antibodies that react with autologous ("self") antigens by censoring self-reactive T and B cells. Unlike the T cell repertoire, antibody diversity is generated within the B cell repertoire in two phases; the first occurs by gene rearrangement in primary lymphoid organs, and the second phase involves antigen-driven hypermutation in peripheral lymphoid organs. The possibility that distinct cellular mechanisms may impose self tolerance at these two different phases of B cell diversification may explain recent findings in transgenic mouse models, in which self-reactive B cells appear to be silenced both by functional inactivation and by physical elimination.