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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Oct 15;149(3-4):157-66. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2012.06.014. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Canine CD4+CD8+ double positive T cells in peripheral blood have features of activated T cells.

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Institute of Immunology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Leipzig, An den Tierkliniken 11, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


In dogs a CD4(+)CD8(+) double positive T cell subpopulation exists that has not been phenotypically defined yet. We demonstrate that canine CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells are mature CD1a(-) and TCRαβ(+) T cells. To analyse the activation potential of CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells, PBMC from dogs vaccinated against canine distemper virus (CDV) were re-stimulated with CDV. Upon antigen-specific stimulation, the CD4(+)CD8(+) T cell fraction increases and consists nearly exclusively of proliferated cells. Similarly, other features of activated effector/memory T cells such as up-regulation of CD25 and MHC-II as well as down-regulation of CD62L (L-selectin) were observed in CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells after stimulation. Canine CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells are less abundant, but more heterogeneous than porcine ones, comprising a small proportion expressing the β chain of CD8 in addition to the CD8α chain, like human CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells. In summary, this analysis provides the basis for functional characterisation of the in vivo relevance of CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells in T-cell mediated immunity.

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