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Immunity. 1999 Jun;10(6):735-44.

Reactive oxygen species regulate activation-induced T cell apoptosis.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Medicine, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, Colorado 80206, USA.


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) mediate apoptosis in a number of cell types. We studied the role that ROS play in activated T cell apoptosis by activating T cells in vivo and then culturing them for a short time. Activated T cells died independently of Fas and TNF alpha. Their death was characterized by rapid loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential (delta psi(m)), caspase-dependent DNA fragmentation, and superoxide generation. A superoxide dismutase mimetic, Mn (III) tetrakis (5, 10, 15, 20-benzoic acid) porphyrin (MnTBAP), protected T cells from superoxide generation, caspase-dependent DNA loss, loss of delta psi(m), and cell death. These results indicate that ROS can regulate signals involved in caspase activation and apoptosis and may contribute to peripheral T cell deletion.

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