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Immunology. 2000 Nov;101(3):333-41.

Antigen-specific proliferation of porcine CD8alphaalpha cells to an extracellular bacterial pathogen.

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Veterinary Medical Research Institute, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, National Animal Disease Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


A vaccine inducing protective immunity to a spirochaete-induced colitis of pigs predominantly stimulates expansion of CD8+ cells in vivo and in antigen-stimulated lymphocyte cultures. CD8+ cells, however, are rarely considered necessary for protection against extracellular bacterial pathogens. In the present study, pigs recovering from colitis resulting from experimental infection with Brachyspira (Serpulina) hyodysenteriae had increased percentages of peripheral blood CD4- CD8+ (alphaalpha-expressing) cells compared with non-infected pigs. CD8alphaalpha+ cells proliferated in antigen-stimulated cultures of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from B. hyodysenteriae-vaccinated pigs. Proliferating CD8alphaalpha+ cells consisted of CD4-, CD4+ and gammadelta T-cell receptor-positive cells. CD4- CD8alphabeta+ cells from vaccinated or infected pigs did not proliferate upon in vitro antigen stimulation. Of the CD8alphaalpha cells that had proliferated, flow cytometric analysis indicated that the majority of the CD4+ CD8+ cells were large (i.e. lymphoblasts) whereas the CD4- CD8+ cells were predominantly small. Addition of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) specific for either porcine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I or class II antigens diminished B. hyodysenteriae-specific proliferative responses whereas addition of mAb to porcine MHC II, but not porcine MHC I, reduced the CD8alphaalpha response. In vitro depletion of CD4+ cells by flow cytometric cell sorting diminished, but did not completely abrogate, the proliferative response of cells from vaccinated pigs to B. hyodysenteriae antigen stimulation. These results suggest that CD8alphaalpha cells are involved in recovery and possibly protection from a spirochaete-induced colitis of pigs; yet, this response appears to be partially dependent upon CD4+ cells.

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