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J Immunol. 1994 Mar 15;152(6):2675-85.

Naive versus memory CD4 T cell response to antigen. Memory cells are less dependent on accessory cell costimulation and can respond to many antigen-presenting cell types including resting B cells.

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Department of Biology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0063.


Secondary responses to Ag in vivo are characterized by more rapid kinetics and greatly enhanced magnitude compared with primary responses. For CD4+ T cells, this is in part due to a greater frequency of Ag-specific memory cells, and may also reflect differences in responsiveness of memory vs naive cells to stimulation. To compare activation requirements and the role of accessory cells, naive and memory cells were stimulated with immobilized anti-CD3 in the presence or absence of APC. With anti-CD3 alone, naive cells proliferated slightly but produced no detectable IL-2, whereas memory cells proliferated well with significant IL-2 production. Increasing numbers of T-depleted APC greatly enhanced responses of naive cells to levels equivalent to those of memory cells, whereas for memory cells only IL-2 production increased slightly. The response of naive cells was equivalent in magnitude and kinetics to that of memory cells when low density APC, enriched in dendritic cells and depleted of resting B cells, were used with anti-CD3. To directly compare naive and memory responses in an Ag-specific model, we examined CD4+ cells specific for a peptide of pigeon cytochrome c fragment isolated from TCR-alpha beta transgenic mice. Naive cells were compared with 4-day activated blasts (effectors) and memory cells generated by adoptive transfer of effectors to adult thymectomized bone marrow reconstituted mice, in which the cells return to a resting state but still respond to recall Ag. Naive cells responded to Ag on dendritic cells and activated B cells but not on resting B cells or macrophages. In contrast, both memory cells and effectors were stimulated by all APCs, including resting B cells and macrophage to a limited extent. The ability of memory cells to respond to all APC types was confirmed using Ag-specific cells generated by in vivo priming with keyhole limpet hemocyanin. These results suggest that memory cells are considerably less dependent on accessory cell costimulation than naive cells, but that naive cells can respond equivalently in both magnitude and kinetics if Ag is presented on costimulatory APCs such as dendritic cells. In addition, these studies suggest that the enhanced secondary T cell response is due to a combination of the increased frequency of Ag-specific cells and their ability to react to Ag presented on a wider range of APC types, rather than an inherent capacity of memory T cells to respond better and faster.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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