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J Immunol. 1989 Feb 1;142(3):737-43.

Effects of in vivo administration of anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody on T cell function in mice. II. In vivo activation of T cells.

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Experimental Immunology Branch, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Anti-CD3 mAb are known to be both immunosuppressive and mitogenic to T cells in vitro. However, only immunosuppression has been observed after in vivo administration of these mAb. The present study demonstrates that T cell activation does occur after in vivo administration of anti-CD3 mAb to mice, evidenced by increased IL-2R expression on T cells, CSF secretion, and extra-medullary hematopoiesis in the spleen. These effects required multivalent cross-linking of the mAb, since F(ab')2 fragments failed to induce them. However, the F(ab')2 fragments did induce modulation of CD3/TCR from the surface of T cells, demonstrating that TCR modulation is not sufficient to induce activation. In addition, interaction of the TCR with either intact or F(ab')2 fragments of the mAb led to increased expression of CD8 in vivo, suggesting that the F(ab')2 fragments of anti-CD3 mAb might be capable of inducing a T cell to undergo some, but not all, of the changes involved in reaching a fully activated state. Further study of the activating effects of anti-CD3 mAb might increase the understanding of the mechanisms of in vivo T cell activation and might also be exploited clinically to stimulate T cell function in immunocompromised states and to enhance hematopoiesis in myelodysplastic disorders.

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