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J Immunol. 1991 Nov 1;147(9):2846-51.

Macrophages as accessory cells for class I MHC-restricted immune responses.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, Denver, CO 80206.


Ag do not elicit T lymphocyte responses unless they are presented in conjunction with MHC molecules on the surface of an appropriate APC. In the case of CD4+ T lymphocytes dendritic cells can deliver all signals required for complete induction as can macrophages and (activated) B cells. The function of CTL also depends on the presence of specialized accessory cells. Here we show that these accessory cells can behave like scavenger cells. They use foreign Ag in the form of cellular debris as immunogen. They are also crucial for CTL induction because in vivo depletion of phagocytotic cells completely inhibits CTL responses. In these animals CTL activity could be restored by transfer of macrophages. All of the reappearing CTL used MHC restriction elements expressed by the infused macrophages. These experiments suggest that a cognate interaction between macrophages and CTL precursors initiates class I MHC-restricted immune responses.

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