We have used staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) to study the role of naive and memory T cells in the induction of peripheral tolerance. After administration of SEB to mice, the numbers of naive and memory T cells increase, as does the proportion of memory T cells, which are unresponsive to further stimulation with SEB in vitro. In addition, memory T cells generated in response to conventional antigen, which proliferate and provide help to B cells in the presence of the conventional antigen, fail to respond to superantigen. Hence, memory T cells, in general, are anergized by SEB. These results suggest that SEB-induced activation and anergy reflect the combined responses of naive and memory T cells. The differential activation vs. anergy of naive and memory T cells by superantigen may be related to cytokine production and may play an important role in the etiology of autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiency diseases such as acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy