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J Immunol. 1999 Feb 1;162(3):1717-22.

Resistance to Fas-mediated T cell apoptosis in asthma.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Over activation of CD4+ T cells in the peripheral blood and airway tissues is characteristic of asthma; therefore, we investigated whether activated T cells from asthmatic subjects have altered apoptotic potential through the Fas death receptor. We found that mitogen-stimulated peripheral blood T cells of asthmatic subjects expressed cell surface Fas, but failed to undergo the normal degree of apoptosis after Fas receptor ligation. T cells from asthmatics exhibited normal apoptotic responses to gamma-irradiation (dependent on IL-1 converting enzyme family proteases), ceramide, and mitogen challenge, suggesting functional integrity of the apoptotic pathway. Furthermore, the defect in Fas-dependent apoptosis was overcome by prestimulation with allogeneic accessory cells instead of mitogen. Taken together, the findings suggest that selective resistance to Fas-dependent apoptosis reflects altered Ag-driven, accessory cell-dependent signaling and that ineffective activation of Fas signal transduction may contribute to T cell-dependent immunoinflammation in asthma.

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