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Int Immunol. 1996 Mar;8(3):351-8.

Effects of different antigenic microenvironments on the course of CD8+ T cell responses in vivo.

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Division of Molecular Immunology, National Institute for Medcial Research, London, UK.


The influence of microenvironment on the course of CD8 + T cell responses in vivo was investigated by injecting H-2Kb-specific T cells from donor TCR transgenic (TCR-Tg) mice into H-2kb-Tg mice. H-2Kb expression in recipients was either ubiquitous (CBK mice) or restricted to myeloid and erythroid cells (K beta mice). Donor T cells proliferated as extensively and acquired similar surface phenotypes in spleen of both recipient types. Thus, neither the restricted pattern of H-2Kb expression nor the significantly reduced level of H-2Kb expression by myeloid cells in Kbeta recipients affects the ability of the splenic microenvironment to prime T cell proliferation in vivo. However, an unsustained burst of cytolytic activity was generated rapidly in spleen of CBK recipients, whereas relatively little cytolytic activity was generated in K beta spleen. This indicates that effector T cells were not generated efficiently in spleen of Kbeta recipients even though extensive T cell proliferation was taking place in this microenvironment. Furthermore, activated donor T cells dispersed rapidly throughout primary and secondary lymphoid organs of Kbeta recipients, whereas few T cells migrated from spleen in CBK recipients. Consequently, the course of CD8+ T cell responses and the anatomical distribution of activated T cells are profoundly influenced by the nature of the antigenic microenvironment encountered in vivo. We conclude that T cells rapidly proliferate and acquire new tissue-homing characteristics but do not differentiate into cytolytic effector cells at the site of priming when they encounter myeloid cells expressing low levels of antigen in vivo.

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