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J Immunol. 2001 Dec 1;167(11):6654-62.

Liver damage by infiltrating CD8+ T cells is Fas dependent.

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Immunobiology Program, Department of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


Ag stimulation of CD8+ lymphocytes in vivo results in their migration to various tissues as well as the activation of a cytolytic program involving perforin, TNF-alpha, and Fas ligand. The liver is one of the main sites for infiltration by activated CD8+ T cells, and this is followed by the death of hepatocytes. The contribution of the various cytolytic components to this process is unclear. Hepatocyte damage by CD8+ T cells was studied using the MHC class I-restricted OVA-specific TCR transgenic mouse (OT-1) to examine the contribution of Fas to hepatocyte death. Activated CD8+ T cells from both OT-1 and Fas-deficient OT-1lpr mice migrated to the liver in similar numbers after OVA administration, but only in OT-1 mice was there evidence of significant hepatocyte damage histologically and by elevation of serum aspartate transaminase. These differences were not the result of inefficient induction of cytolytic activity in OT-1lpr liver T cells, since they were as cytolytic in vitro as OT-1 liver T cells. This was supported by findings of similar high levels of message for perforin, TNF-alpha, and Fas ligand in liver lymphocytes from both mice. These findings demonstrate that following Ag activation, infiltrating liver CD8+ T lymphocytes induce hepatocyte damage in a Fas-dependent manner.

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