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Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

Impact factor: 3.698

ISSN Print: 1040-8401
ISSN Online: 2162-6472

Critical Reviews™ in Immunology

DOI: 10.1615/CritRevImmunol.v25.i4.30
pages 289-304

The Role of Bystander T Cells in CNS Pathology and Pathogen Clearance

Dorian B. McGavern
Division of Virology, Department of Neuropharmacology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037

ABSTRACT

It is generally accepted that both self- and pathogen-specific T lymphocytes have the potential to mediate immunopathogenesis and contribute to a variety of human ailments. Despite this unfortunate tendency to induce tissue injury, these cells are guided by interactions with peptide-loaded major histocompatibility complexes (MHC) and adhere appropriately to a vital evolutionary constraint imposed by the host: specificity. More recently, a series of studies have demonstrated that bystander T cells of an irrelevant specificity can bypass peptide/MHC restriction and become active participants in immunopathology. This review critically evaluates the role of bystander T cells in immunopathogenesis and pathogen clearance in the periphery as well as the central nervous system and attempts to establish the likelihood of their participation in human disease.