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Am J Pathol. 2007 Jul;171(1):87-96.

CD8+ T cells promote inflammation and apoptosis in the liver after sepsis: role of Fas-FasL.

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Surgical Research, Aldrich 227, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


Although studies blocking the Fas pathway indicate it can decrease organ damage while improving septic (cecal ligation and puncture, CLP) mouse survival, little is known about how Fas-Fas ligand (FasL) interactions mediate this protection at the tissue level. Here, we report that although Fas expression on splenocytes and hepatocytes is up-regulated by CLP and is inhibited by in vivo short interfering RNA, FasL as well as the frequency of CD8(+) T cells are differentially altered by sepsis in the spleen (no change in FasL, decreased percentage of CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells) versus the liver (increased FasL expression on CD8(+) T cells and increase in percentage/number). Adoptive transfer of CLP FasL(+/+) versus FasL(-/-) mouse liver CD8(+) T cells to severe combined immunodeficient or RAG1(-/-) recipient mice indicated that these cells could induce inflammation. The FasL-mediated cytotoxic capacity of these septic mouse liver CD8(+) T cells was shown by their ability to damage directly cultured hepatocytes. Finally, although CD8(-/-) mice exhibited a reduction in both CLP-induced liver active caspase-3 staining and blood interleukin-6 levels, only FasL(-/-) (but not CD8(-/-)) protected the septic mouse spleen from increasing apoptosis. Thus, although truncating Fas-FasL signaling ameliorates many untoward effects of sepsis, the pathological mode of action is distinct at the tissue level.

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