Send to

Choose Destination
J Immunol. 2004 Aug 15;173(4):2494-9.

Functional characterization of MHC class II-restricted CD8+CD4- and CD8-CD4- T cell responses to infection in CD4-/- mice.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Classical CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells recognize Ag presented by MHC class II (MHCII) and MHC class I (MHCI), respectively. However, our results show that CD4(-/-) mice mount a strong, readily detectable CD8(+) T cell response to MHCII-restricted epitopes after a primary bacterial or viral infection. These MHCII-restricted CD8(+)CD4(-) T cells are more similar to classical CD8(+) T cells than to CD4(+) T cells in their expression of effector functions during a primary infection, yet they also differ from MHCI-restricted CD8(+) T cells by their inability to produce high levels of the cytolytic molecule granzyme B. After resolution of a primary infection, epitope-specific MHCII-restricted T cells in CD4(-/-) mice persist for a long period of time as memory T cells. Surprisingly, upon reinfection the secondary MHCII-restricted response in CD4(-/-) mice consists mainly of CD8(-)CD4(-) T cells. In contrast to CD8(+) T cells, MHCII-restricted CD8(-)CD4(-) T cells are capable of producing IL-2 in addition to IFN-gamma and thus appear to have attributes characteristic of CD4(+) T cells rather than CD8(+) T cells. Therefore, MHCII-restricted T cells in CD4(-/-) mice do not share all phenotypic and functional characteristics with MHCI-restricted CD8(+) T cells or with MHCII-restricted CD4(+) T cells, but, rather, adopt attributes from each of these subsets. These results have implications for understanding thymic T cell selection and for elucidating the mechanisms regulating the peripheral immune response and memory differentiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center