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Abstract

The repeated application of antigens results in the induction of tolerance. Lymph nodes are responsible for this reaction by producing suppressor cells. Using an in vivo transplantation model, we showed recently that stromal cells from different lymph nodes induce different cell populations for suppression, which all produce a tolerogenic phenotype. In this study, we were interested in the role of the spleen in these tolerance reactions. Therefore, tolerance was induced via feeding or injecting ovalbumin several times in control and splenectomized mice. The delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) was measured as well as the cell subset composition of the spleen. The spleen of peripherally tolerized mice showed higher proliferation activity and a specific antibody production compared with orally tolerized mice, where regulatory T cells were predominantly found. Tolerance induction after removal of the spleen resulted in a reduced DTH response in antigen fed animals, whereas skin tolerance induction failed. In conclusion, the results illustrate that lymph nodes from different areas employ their individual pathways for similar immune reactions, and the spleen is part of this reaction initiated at the peripheral site.