Anergy in vivo: Down-regulation of antigen-specific CD4+ Th1 but not Th2 cytokine responses

William J. Karpus*, Jeffrey D. Peterson, Stephen D. Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Efficient immunologic tolerance, defined as antlgen-speclflc unresponslveness, can be peripherally induced by the l.v. Injection of syngenelc splenocytes coupled with antigen using ethylene carbodilmlde (ECDI). We have previously reported that unresponslveness induced via l.v. Injection of syngenelc splenocytes coupled with intact, UV-lnactlvated Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV-SP) resulted in 'split tolerance'. Both vtrus-speclflc delayed-type hypersensltlvlty and lgG2a levels were inhibited, whereas lgG1 levels were increased when compared with sham tolerized controls. In the present report we demonstrate that tolerance induced by l.v. Injection of TMEV-coupled splenocytes resulted in antigen-specific inhibition of T cell proliferation, as well as IL-2 and IFN-γ production in response to both whole TMEV and the immunodomlnant viral epitope. Additionally, tolerance induction resulted in abrogation of Th1 -derived [IL-2, IFN-γ and LT/tumor necrosis factor-β (TNF-β)] cytokine mRNA expression in response to In vitro stimulation with UV-inactlvated TMEV as determined by reverse transcrlptase polymerase chain reaction. In contrast, expression of Th2-derived (IL-4, IL-6 and IL-10) cytokine mRNA was not affected in tolerized mice. Tolerance functioned directly at the level of CD4+ Th1 cells at both the induction and effector limbs as depletion of CD8+ T cells both prior to in vivo tolerizatlon or in vitro culture had no effect on inhibition of Th1-specific responses. The mechanism of In vivo tolerance induction appeared to be anergy of CD4+ Th1 cells since IL-2, IFN-γ and LT/TNF-β mRNA expression as well as virus-specific prollferatlve responses could be restored by addition of rlL-2 to In vitro cultures of tolerant, CD4+ Th1 populations. These results suggest that in vivo 'split tolerance' Induced by l.v. Injection of ECDI-flxed, antigen-coupled splenocytes involves anergy of TMEV-speclflc, CD4+ Th1 lymphocytes and concomitant priming of Th2 cells. The induction of antlgen-speclflc, in vivo anergy has important implications in the design of therapeutic strategies for immunopathologic diseases mediated by Th1 lymphocytes, especially T cell-mediated autoimmune disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-730
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Anergy
  • Fixed antigen presenting cells
  • Lymphokines
  • T cells
  • Th1 cells
  • Th2 cells
  • Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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