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Homeostasis and Self-Tolerance in the Immune System: Turning Lymphocytes off

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Science  10 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5361, pp. 243-248
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5361.243

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The immune system responds in a regulated fashion to microbes and eliminates them, but it does not respond to self-antigens. Several regulatory mechanisms function to terminate responses to foreign antigens, returning the immune system to a basal state after the antigen has been cleared, and to maintain unresponsiveness, or tolerance, to self-antigens. Here, recent advances in understanding of the molecular bases and physiologic roles of the mechanisms of immune homeostasis are examined.

  • * Present address: Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

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