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J Exp Med. 1999 Mar 1;189(5):779-86.

Cytotoxicity is mandatory for CD8(+) T cell-mediated contact hypersensitivity.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U503, Faculté Laennec, F-69372 Lyon Cedex 08, France.

Abstract

Contact hypersensitivity (CHS) is a T cell-mediated skin inflammation induced by epicutaneous exposure to haptens in sensitized individuals. We have previously reported that CHS to dinitrofluorobenzene in mice is mediated by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-restricted CD8(+) T cells. In this study, we show that CD8(+) T cells mediate the skin inflammation through their cytotoxic activity. The contribution of specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) to the CHS reaction was examined both in vivo and in vitro, using mice deficient in perforin and/or Fas/Fas ligand (FasL) pathways involved in cytotoxicity. Mice double deficient in perforin and FasL were able to develop hapten-specific CD8(+) T cells in the lymphoid organs but did not show CHS reaction. However, they did not generate hapten-specific CTLs, demonstrating that the CHS reaction is dependent on cytotoxic activity. In contrast, Fas-deficient lpr mice, FasL-deficient gld mice, and perforin-deficient mice developed a normal CHS reaction and were able to generate hapten-specific CTLs, suggesting that CHS requires either the Fas/FasL or the perforin pathway. This was confirmed by in vitro studies showing that the hapten-specific CTL activity was exclusively mediated by MHC class I-restricted CD8(+) T cells which could use either the perforin or the Fas/FasL pathway for their lytic activity. Thus, cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells, commonly implicated in the host defence against tumors and viral infections, could also mediate harmful delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions.

PMID:
10049941
PMCID:
PMC2192953
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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