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J Immunol. 2002 Jun 1;168(11):5737-45.

Multiple mechanisms compensate to enhance tumor-protective CD8(+) T cell response in the long-term despite poor CD8(+) T cell priming initially: comparison between an acute versus a chronic intracellular bacterium expressing a model antigen.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular Immunology, Institute for Biological Sciences, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


We evaluated CD8(+) T cell responses against the dominant CTL epitope, OVA(257-264), expressed by an acute (Listeria monocytogenes (LM) OVA) vs a chronic pathogen (Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) OVA) to reveal the influence on CD8(+) T cell memory and consequent protection against a challenge with OVA-expressing tumor cells. Infection with lower doses of both pathogens resulted in stronger bacterial growth but weaker T cell memory indicating that memory correlates with pathogen dose but not with bacterial expansion. The CD8(+) T cell response induced by LM-OVA was helper T cell-independent and was characterized by a rapid effector response followed by a rapid, but massive, attrition. In contrast, BCG-OVA induced a delayed and weak response that was compensated for by a longer effector phase and reduced attrition. This response was partly dependent on CD4(+) T cells. CD8(+) T cell response induced by BCG-OVA, but not LM-OVA, was highly dependent on pathogen persistence to compensate for the weak initial CD8(+) T cell priming. Despite a stronger initial T cell response with LM-OVA, BCG-OVA provided more effective tumor (B16OVA) control at both local and distal sites due to the induction of a persistently activated acquired, and a more potent innate, immunity.

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