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Blood. 2000 Apr 1;95(7):2352-5.

Granule exocytosis, and not the fas/fas ligand system, is the main pathway of cytotoxicity mediated by alloantigen-specific CD4(+) as well as CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes in humans.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Ehime University School of Medicine, Shigenobu, Ehime.


We investigated the cytotoxicity mechanisms of alloantigen-specific human CD4(+) and CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) using cells from family members with the Fas gene mutation. Alloantigen-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) CTL bulk lines and clones were generated from 2 individuals by stimulation of their peripheral blood lymphocytes with allogeneic Fas(-/-) or Fas(+/-) cell lines that were established from B-lymphocytes of a patient with Fas deficiency and her mother, respectively. Both CD4(+) and CD8(+) CTL bulk lines and clones directed against allogeneic HLA antigens exerted cytotoxicity against Fas(-/-) and Fas(+/-) cells to almost the same degree. The cytotoxicity of CD4(+) and CD8(+) CTLs appeared to be Ca(2+)-dependent and was completely inhibited by concanamycin A, an inhibitor of perforin-mediated cytotoxicity. Messenger RNAs for the major mediators of CTL cytotoxicity, Fas ligand, perforin, and granzyme B were all detected in these CD4(+) CTLs with the use of the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The majority of CD4(+) CTL clones that showed Fas-independent cytotoxicity were T(H)0, as determined by their cytokine production profile. These data, obtained with the use of a novel experimental system, clearly show that the main pathway of cytotoxicity mediated by alloantigen-specific human CD4(+) as well as by CD8(+) CTLs is granule exocytosis, and not the Fas/Fas ligand system.

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