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J Immunol. 2000 Jun 1;164(11):5652-8.

Mouse CD8+ CD122+ T cells with intermediate TCR increasing with age provide a source of early IFN-gamma production.

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Department of Parasiotology, National Defense Medical College, Tokorozawa, Japan.


Although CD8+ IL-2Rbeta (CD122)+ T cells with intermediate TCR reportedly develop extrathymically, their functions still remain largely unknown. In the present study, we characterized the function of CD8+ CD122+ T cells with intermediate TCR of C57BL/6 mice. The proportion of CD8+ CD122+ T cells in splenocytes gradually increased with age, whereas CD8+ IL-2Rbeta-negative or -low (CD122-) T cells conversely decreased. The IFN-gamma production from splenocytes stimulated with immobilized anti-CD3 Ab in vitro increased with age, whereas the IL-4 production decreased. When sorted CD8+ CD122+ T cells were stimulated in vitro by the anti-CD3 Ab, they promptly produced a much larger amount of IFN-gamma than did CD8+ CD122- T cells or CD4+ T cells, whereas only CD4+ T cells produced IL-4. The depletion of CD8+ CD122+ T cells from whole splenocytes greatly decreased the CD3-stimulated IFN-gamma production and increased the IL-4 production, whereas the addition of sorted CD8+ CD122+ T cells to CD8+ CD122+ T cell-depleted splenocytes restored the IFN-gamma production and partially decreased IL-4 production. It is of interest that CD8+ CD122+ T cells stimulated CD4+ T cells to produce IFN-gamma. The CD3-stimulated IFN-gamma production from each T cell subset was augmented by macrophages. Furthermore, CD3-stimulated CD8+ CD122+ T cells produced an even greater amount of IFN-gamma than did liver NK1.1+ T cells and also showed antitumor cytotoxicity. These results show that CD8+ CD122+ T cells may thus be an important source of early IFN-gamma production and are suggested to be involved in the immunological changes with aging.

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