sequestered antigens hypothesis

sequestered antigens hypothesis

a proposed explanation for autoimmunity that stresses the relationship between antigen exposure, immunogenic cells, and body cells. It maintains that immunological tolerance depends on a certain degree of contact between immunological cells and body cells and on a certain degree of antigen exposure. The hypothesis holds that certain sequestered antigens in the brain, the lenses of the eye, and spermatozoa are isolated from the circulation of the blood and the lymph and therefore do not contact the cells of the immune system. When body tissues are damaged, the sequestered antigens are suddenly exposed to the immune system, which treats them as foreign, triggering an autoimmune reaction. Compare forbidden clone hypothesis.