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J Immunol. 2006 Aug 1;177(3):1427-33.

EBV-specific CD4+ T cell clones exhibit vigorous allogeneic responses.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Unité 601, Institut de Biologie, Nantes, France.


Alloreactive T cells play a key role in mediating graft-vs-host disease and allograft rejection, and recent data suggest that most T cell alloreactivity resides within the CD4 T cell subset. Particularly, T cell responses to herpesvirus can shape the alloreactive repertoire and influence transplantation outcomes. In this study, we describe six distinct EBV-specific CD4(+) T cell clones that cross-reacted with EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs), dendritic cells, and endothelial cells expressing MHC class II alleles commonly found in the population. Allorecognition showed exquisite MHC specificity. These CD4(+) T cell clones efficiently killed dendritic cells or LCLs expressing the cross-reactive allogeneic MHC class II molecules, whereas they did not kill autologous LCLs. Endothelial cells expressing the proper allogeneic MHC molecules were poorly killed, but they induced high-level TNF-alpha production by the EBV-specific CD4(+) T cell clones. As already proposed, the strong alloreactivity toward LCLs suggest that these cells could be used for selective depletion of alloreactive T cells.

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