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J Immunol. 1998 Apr 15;160(8):3759-65.

Differential capacities of CD4+, CD8+, and CD4-CD8- T cell subsets to express IL-18 receptor and produce IFN-gamma in response to IL-18.

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  • 1Biomedical Research Center, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Japan.


IL-12 and IL-18 have the capacity to stimulate IFN-gamma production by T cells. Using a T cell clone, we reported that IL-18 responsiveness is generated only after exposure to IL-12. Here, we investigated the induction of IL-18 responsiveness in resting CD8+, CD4+, and CD4-CD8- T cells. Resting T cells respond to neither IL-12 nor IL-18. After stimulation with anti-CD3 plus anti-CD28 mAbs, CD8+, CD4+, and CD4-CD8- T cells expressed IL-12R, but not IL-18R, and produced IFN-gamma in response to IL-12. Cultures of T cells with anti-CD3/anti-CD28 in the presence of rIL-12 induced IL-18R expression and IL-18-stimulated IFN-gamma production, which reached higher levels than that induced by IL-12 stimulation. However, there was a substantial difference in the expression of IL-18R and IL-18-stimulated IFN-gamma production among T cell subsets. CD4+ cells expressed marginal levels of IL-18R and produced small amounts of IFN-gamma, whereas CD8+ cells expressed higher levels of IL-18R and produced more IFN-gamma than CD4+ cells. Moreover, CD4-CD8- cells expressed levels of IL-18R comparable to those for CD8+ cells but produced IFN-gamma one order higher than did CD8+ cells. These results indicate that the induction of IL-18R and IL-18 responsiveness by IL-12 represents a mechanism underlying enhanced IFN-gamma production by resting T cells, but the operation of this mechanism differs depending on the T cell subset stimulated.

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