The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a key role in the immune response. mTOR inhibitors suppress T cell activation and proliferation and are effective immunosuppressants. Today there is growing interest in their potential role in inducing tolerance after transplantation. mTOR inhibitors induce anergy in naïve T cells, promote the expansion of regulatory T cells, and inhibit the maturation of dendritic cells, thus promoting immunologic tolerance. Here we review the mechanisms by which mTOR inhibitors promote tolerance. We discuss the clinical relevance of these mechanisms and suggest how they might be used in the design of future protocols to induce tolerance.
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