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Blood. 2005 Dec 1;106(12):3874-9. Epub 2005 Aug 11.

Secretion of IFN-gamma and not IL-2 by anergic human T cells correlates with assembly of an immature immune synapse.

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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, South Kensington Campus, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.


We report differences in the supramolecular organization of the immunologic synapse (IS) formed by resting and anergic human T cells with agonist peptide-loaded antigen-presenting cells (APCs). T cells reactive to influenza A hemagglutinin peptide or Fel d 1 peptide 4 were rendered both anergic and regulatory by incubation with high doses of agonist peptide in the absence of APCs. At the IS between resting T cells and peptide-loaded APCs, both CD3epsilon and CD3zeta initially accumulate within a ring or arc before redistributing within 30 minutes to single or multiple foci more central to the contact. In contrast, at synapses formed by anergized T cells, CD3epsilon and CD3zeta remained organized within an arc or ring and failed to redistribute centrally. However, intercellular communication between anergic human T cells and agonist peptide-loaded APCs was not a null event, since it triggered secretion of T-cell interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) but not, for example, interleukin 2 (IL-2). Thus, distinct organizations of CD3 at the T-cell IS correlate with different cytokine profiles; the mature IS formed by resting T cells correlates with their production of both IFN-gamma and IL-2, whereas the immature IS formed by anergic T cells seems able to facilitate IFN-gamma but not IL-2 production.

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