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Science. 1997 Jun 13;276(5319):1684-7.

Differential effects of cytolytic T cell subsets on intracellular infection.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


In analyzing mechanisms of protection against intracellular infections, a series of human CD1-restricted T cell lines of two distinct phenotypes were derived. Both CD4(-)CD8(-) (double-negative) T cells and CD8(+) T cells efficiently lysed macrophages infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The cytotoxicity of CD4(-)CD8(-) T cells was mediated by Fas-FasL interaction and had no effect on the viability of the mycobacteria. The CD8(+) T cells lysed infected macrophages by a Fas-independent, granule-dependent mechanism that resulted in killing of bacteria. These data indicate that two phenotypically distinct subsets of human cytolytic T lymphocytes use different mechanisms to kill infected cells and contribute in different ways to host defense against intracellular infection.

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