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Immunology. 2000 Sep;101(1):19-29.

Characterization of CD4- CD8- CD3+ T-cell receptor-alphabeta+ T cells in murine cytomegalovirus infection.

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Departments of Immunology and Virology, Medical Institute of Bioregulation, Kyushu University, Fukuoka 812-8582, Japan.


In this study, we have investigated that after the intraperitoneal infection with murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), the CD3+ CD4- CD8-(double negative; DN) T-cell receptor (TCR)alphabeta+ T cells increased in peritoneal cavity, liver and spleen in both resistant C57BL/6 and susceptible BALB/c mice. The total cellular population of these cells showed peak levels around day 5 after infection in all the three investigated organs and the following phenotypical and functional characteristics emerged. The peritoneal DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells expressed highly skewed TCRVbeta8 on day 5 after infection compared with the uninfected mice, but those in spleen and liver showed moderate and low skewed TCRVbeta8, respectively. The percentages of NK1.1+ DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells gradually decreased as did modulation of some of their activation markers consistent with an activated cell phenotype. The peritoneal DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells on day 5 after infection expressed the genes of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumour necrosis factor-alpha, Eta-1 (early T-cell activation-1) and MCP-1 (monocyte chemoattractant protein 1) but lacked expression of interleukin-4 (IL-4). After in vitro stimulation with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and calcium ionophore in the presence of Brefeldin A, higher frequencies of intracellular IFN-gamma+ DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells were detected in all three investigated organs of infected mice compared with those of uninfected mice. Stimulation of peritoneal DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells with plate-bound anti-TCRbeta monoclonal antibodies showed proliferation and also produced IFN-gamma but not IL-4. These results suggest that DN TCRalphabeta+ T cells were activated and may have an antiviral effect through producing IFN-gamma and some macrophage-activating factors during an early phase of MCMV infection.

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