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J Immunol. 2010 Aug 15;185(4):2004-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001176. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Cutting edge: Rapamycin augments pathogen-specific but not graft-reactive CD8+ T cell responses.

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  • 1Emory Transplant Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Recent evidence demonstrating that exposure to rapamycin during viral infection increased the quantity and quality of Ag-specific T cells poses an intriguing paradox, because rapamycin is used in transplantation to dampen, rather than enhance, donor-reactive T cell responses. In this report, we compared the effects of rapamycin on the Ag-specific T cell response to a bacterial infection versus a transplant. Using a transgenic system in which the Ag and the responding T cell population were identical in both cases, we observed that treatment with rapamycin augmented the Ag-specific T cell response to a pathogen, whereas it failed to do so when the Ag was presented in the context of a transplant. These results suggest that the environment in which an Ag is presented alters the influence of rapamycin on Ag-specific T cell expansion and highlights a fundamental difference between Ag presented by an infectious agent as compared with an allograft.

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