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Int Immunol. 2007 Mar;19(3):249-56. Epub 2007 Jan 17.

AsialoGM1+CD8+ central memory-type T cells in unimmunized mice as novel immunomodulator of IFN-gamma-dependent type 1 immunity.

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Division of Immunoregulation, Section of Disease Control, Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 060-0815, Japan.


In unimmunized specific pathogen-free mice, there are unique memory-type CD8(+) T cell populations expressing asialoGM1 (ASGM1). These cells were classified into central memory-type T cells (T(CMT)) judging from their expression profile of CD44, IL-2Rbeta, CD62L and CCR7 cell-surface molecules. Among CD44(high)CD8(+) so-called memory CD8(+) T cell population, ASGM1(+)CD44(high)CD8(+) T(CMT), but not ASGM1(-)CD44(high)CD8(+) memory T cells, produced IFN-gamma by stimulation with anti-CD3 mAb. The physiological significance of ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) as early source of IFN-gamma was also demonstrated in vivo. Namely, intravenous injection of anti-CD3 mAb (2 microg) resulted in early activation of IFN-gamma-producing ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) cells as well as NKT and NK cells. Unexpectedly, however, few IFN-gamma-producing CD4(+) T cells were detected until 4 h after anti-CD3 mAb administration. Thus, ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) were demonstrated to be early IFN-gamma producer, which may be crucial for T(h)1-dependent cellular immunity. Indeed, co-culture of naive CD4(+) T cells with ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) but not ASGM1(-)CD8(+) T cells caused a great acceleration of IFN-gamma-producing T(h)1 cells in vitro. Finally, we found that T(h)1-prone C57BL/6 mice possessed higher percentage (10%) of ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) in CD8(+) T cells compared with that (3%) of T(h)2-prone BALB/c mice. Moreover, ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT) derived from C57BL/6 mice produced higher levels of IFN-gamma compared with those from BALB/c mice. Thus, ASGM1(+)CD8(+) T(CMT), whose differentiation in vivo is genetically controlled, appear to play a critical role in the control of type 1 immunity, which is essential for therapy of tumors and infectious diseases.

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