CD4+CD8dim T lymphocytes exhibit enhanced cytokine expression, proliferation and cytotoxic activity in response to HCMV and HIV-1 antigens

Maria A. Suni, Smita A. Ghanekar, David W. Houck, Holden T. Maecker, Susan B. Wormsley, Louis J. Picker, Ronald B. Moss, Vernon C. Maino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations

Abstract

CD4+CD8dim T cells represent a minor subset of the total CD3+ T cell population in peripheral blood. Although transient and persistent expansions of these cells have been reported in both healthy and diseased individuals, the functional properties of the CD4+CD8dim population are largely unknown. In this study, we examined antigen-specific cytokine and proliferative responses of the CD4+CD8dim subset. In whole blood cultures stimulated with the viral antigens HCMV and HIV-1, a significant fraction of the CD4+CD8dim subset exhibited cytokine expression and proliferation in response to antigen activation. Typically, the CD4+CD8dim population contained two- to eightfold higher frequencies of antigen-specific cytokine producing cells than the CD4+CD8- population. Phenotypic analysis of the cytokine expressing CD4+CD8dim population indicated that these cells are memory T cells, with a high frequency of this population expressing the cytotoxic markers CD56 and perforin. Furthermore, the CD4+CD8dim cytokine responses to CMV were shown to be MHC class II dependent. Significantly, purified CD4+CD8dim T cells were found to possess higher CMV-specific cytotoxic activity than purified CD4+CD8- T cells in a standard 51Cr-release CTL assay. Thus, CD4+CD8dim T cells appear to be MHC class II dependent, are capable of cytolytic effector activity, and are highly enriched within the CD4+ cell populations specific for HCMV and HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2512-2520
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Volume31
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Antigen-specific
  • CTL
  • Cytokine
  • Flow cytometry
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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