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Clin Exp Rheumatol. 1993 May-Jun;11(3):241-7.

P. Rambotti Lecture. Human naive and memory T cells revisited: new markers (CD31 and CD27) that help define CD4+ T cell subsets.

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  • 1Division of Tumor Immunology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02115.


The human CD4 population can be divided into functionally distinct and largely reciprocal subsets based on their differential expression of CD45 isoforms (CD45RA, CD45RO) and the CD29/VLA beta chain. CD4+CD45RO+ CD29high "memory" (helper inducer) cells respond maximally to recall antigens and provide help for B cell IgG synthesis. In contrast, the CD4+CD45RA+ CD29low "naive" (suppressor inducer) population responds poorly to recall Ag, lacks helper function for B cells, but can both induce CD8 cells to suppress B cell IgG synthesis and proliferate preferentially in an autologous mixed lymphocyte response (AMLR). The phenotypic "conversion" after activation and the preferential responsiveness of CD45RA-CD45RO+ CD29high cells to recall antigen led to the view that CD45RA+ cells are "naive" and immature and convert to CD45RA-CD45RO+ "memory" cells after activation. This conversion was believed by many to be unidirectional and irreversible. It has become increasingly clear that the naive-memory concept outlined above is far from settled and that naive CD4+CD45RA+ T cells retain their unique functional program after activation and are distinct from the freshly isolated CD4+CD45RO+ subset. Moreover, CD45RA is not irreversibly lost following activation, but in fact recycles on the cell surface. Given the problems with CD45 isoform expression as a definition of maturational state, we have investigated the possibility that more reliable cell surface molecules are needed which could delineate between the functions of activated CD45RA+ and CD45RA- CD45RO+ cells. We could show that CD31 and CD27 are preferentially expressed on the CD4+CD45RA+ subset of cells and their expressions are stably maintained on these cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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