In the intestine maintenance of self-tolerance may involve tissue-specific self-Ags, APCs, 'second signals', and extrathymic pathways of T cell maturation. These factors combine to create a unique environment where autoimmune tissue destruction is prevented despite local inflammatory influences. In this review we summarize our findings using a TCR-γδ transgenic model where self-tolerance was maintained by clonal deletion for cells localizing to peripheral lymphold tissue and by clonal anergy for cells localizing to the intraepithelial compartments. Several possible explanations exist for these results but in general, these findings have implications for the maintenance of self-tolerance of normal TCR-αβ and TCR-γδ IELs in epithelial tissues such as the intestine.
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