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J Immunol. 2002 Jul 1;169(1):330-9.

Induction of CD1-restricted immune responses in guinea pigs by immunization with mycobacterial lipid antigens.

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  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Group 1 CD1 molecules have been shown to present lipid and glycolipid Ags of mycobacteria to human T cells. However, a suitable animal model for the investigation of this component of antimycobacterial immunity has not yet been established. Previously, we found that guinea pigs express multiple isoforms of group 1 CD1 proteins that are homologous to human CD1b and CD1c. In this study, we show that CD1-restricted T cell responses can be generated in guinea pigs following immunization with lipid Ags from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Splenic T cells from lipid Ag-immunized guinea pigs showed strong proliferative responses to total lipid Ags and partially purified glycolipid fractions from M. tuberculosis. These lipid Ag-reactive T cells were enriched in CD4-negative T cell fractions and showed cytotoxic activity against CD1-expressing guinea pig bone marrow-derived dendritic cells pulsed with M. tuberculosis lipid Ags. Using guinea pig cell lines transfected with individual CD1 isoforms as target cells in cytotoxic T cell assays, we found that guinea pig CD1b and CD1c molecules presented M. tuberculosis glycolipid Ags to T cells raised by mycobacterial lipid immunization. These results were confirmed using a T cell line derived from M. tuberculosis lipid Ag-immunized guinea pigs, which also showed CD1-restricted responses and cytolytic activity. Our results demonstrate that CD1-restricted responses against microbial glycolipid Ags can be generated in vivo by specific immunization and provide support for the use of the guinea pig as a relevant small animal model for the study of CD1-restricted immune responses to mycobacterial pathogens.

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