• Peripheral tolerance;
  • Clonal anergy;
  • Platelet antigen


Peripheral tolerance to self antigens has been suspected to play an important role in the regulation of the immune response in humans since autoreactive T cells can be isolated from the peripheral blood of healthy individuals. The mechanism of this tolerance is not known, but a number of groups have shown that autoreactive T cells can be induced to proliferate in vitro by the addition of their specific antigen and exogenous interleukin (IL)-2. In this report, we present the analysis of autoreactive T cells, isolated from healthy individuals, to the autoantigen GpIIb-IIIa present on circulating bone-marrow-derived cells and on thymic epithelial cells. We found that the response of GpIIb-IIIa autoreactive T cells in vitro, when stimulated with GpIIb-IIIa, shares characteristics with the response found for anergic T cells. In response to GpIIb-IIIa, the GpIIb-IIIa-autoreactive T cells are neither able to proliferate nor produce IL-2 on their own, but do express IL-2 receptors α on their cell surface and produce IFN-γ. This state of unresponsiveness can be broken by the addition of exogenous IL-2 and IL-7, as in the case of anergic T cells. However, GpIIb-IIIa-autoreactive T cells differ from anergic T cells in their capacity to be stimulated by IL-12 and by their production of IL-2 mRNA. Interestingly, once the unresponsive state to GpIIb-IIIa has been broken by the addition of IL-2, GpIIb-IIIa autoreactive T cells can produce IL-2 and proliferate when restimulated by GpIIb-IIIa alone. Altogether, these results suggest that the tolerance of GpIIb-IIIa autoreactive T cells from healthy individuals could involve post-transcriptional regulation of IL-2 expression.