Remembering to Be Tolerant

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Science  10 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6069, pp. 667-668
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218927

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We avoid potentially lethal autoreactivity because our adaptive immune system ignores normal, healthy tissues. Although multiple mechanisms induce self-tolerance, it is less clear how tolerance is maintained. On page 723 in this issue, Schietinger et al. (1) report that self-specific T lymphocytes can be driven to transiently break tolerance, but revert back to the tolerant state, even in the absence of the relevant self-antigen. This suggests that a “memory” of tolerance restrains autoreactive lymphocytes.