Clonal anergy

Experiments pioneered by Nossal and Pike in the 1980s led to the enunciation of clonal anergy as an alternative mode of B cell tolerance induction. In the original experiments these workers reported that while both high and low doses of antigen could induce tolerance, only the high doses resulted in deletion. Low doses of antigen tolerizcd the animals such that they were subsequently unable to respond to immunogenic forms of the same antigen, despite the persistence of antigen-specific B cells. Data supporting clonal anergy as a means of tolerizing T cells subsequently emerged. Progress in resolving the relative importance of clonal deletion and anergy in maintaining immunological tolerance was hindered by the difficulty in detecting and enumerating anti-gen-specific lymphocytes in normal animals and in quantifying changes to this population upon the induction of tolerance. Subsequent advances in this field have depended on the use of immunoglobulin transgenic animals.

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