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J Immunol. 2002 Sep 15;169(6):3191-9.

Differential kinetics of antigen-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in the regression of retrovirus-induced sarcomas.

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Department of Immunology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Despite the accepted role for CD4+ T cells in immune control, little is known about the development of Ag-specific CD4+ T cell immunity upon primary infection. Here we use MHC class II tetramer technology to directly visualize the Ag-specific CD4+ T cell response upon infection of mice with Moloney murine sarcoma and leukemia virus complex (MoMSV). Significant numbers of Ag-specific CD4+ T cells are detected both in lymphoid organs and in retrovirus-induced lesions early during infection, and they express the 1B11-reactive activation-induced isoform of CD43 that was recently shown to define effector CD8+ T cell populations. Comparison of the kinetics of the MoMSV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses reveals a pronounced shift toward CD8+ T cell immunity at the site of MoMSV infection during progression of the immune response. Consistent with an important early role of Ag-specific CD4+ T cell immunity during MoMSV infection, CD4+ T cells contribute to the generation of virus-specific CD8+ T cell immunity within the lymphoid organs and are required to promote an inflammatory environment within the virus-infected tissue.

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