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J Immunol. 1999 Jul 1;163(1):102-10.

CD8+ T cells become nonresponsive (anergic) following activation in the presence of costimulation.

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Center for Immunology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis 55455, USA.


CD8+ T cells stimulated in vitro with anti-TCR mAb and B7-1 or ICAM-1 produce IL-2 and clonally expand. Effector function is acquired within 3 days, but proliferation ceases and the cells begin to die by apoptosis. Stimulation in vivo with B7-1-expressing allogeneic tumor results in the same sequence of events with a comparable time course. In both cases, the cells become anergic within 3 or 4 days of responding; they can no longer respond by producing IL-2 and proliferating, but can still be stimulated to proliferate in response to exogenous IL-2. This activation-induced nonresponsiveness (AINR) is not simply a consequence of ongoing cell death; cytokines that promote survival (IL-7 or IFN-alpha) or proliferation (human IL-2) do not restore the ability to produce IL-2 in response to costimulation. Although similar to the anergy described for CD4+ T cell clones, AINR differs in that it results from an initial stimulation with both signal 1 and signal 2. AINR appears to be an aspect of the normal differentiation of fully stimulated CD8+ T cells. It is probably important in regulating CTL responses; it limits the initial T helper-independent response and converts it to a response that requires T cell help to be sustained and further expanded. When the initial helper-independent response is not sufficient to clear Ag, and if help is not available, AINR likely results in tolerance to the Ag.

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