CD4+ and CD8+ T cells exhibit important differences in their major effector functions. CD8+ T cells provide protection against pathogens through cytolytic activity, whereas CD4+ T cells exert important regulatory activity through production of cytokines. However, both lineages can produce interferon (IFN)-γ which can contribute to protective immunity. Here we show that CD4+ and CD8+ T cells differ in their regulation of IFN-γ production. Both lineages require signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)4 activation for IFN-γ induced by interleukin (IL)-12/IL-18 signaling, but only CD4+ T cells require Stat4 for IFN-γ induction via the TCR pathway. In response to antigen, CD8+ T cells can produce IFN-γ independently of IL-12, whereas CD4+ T cells require IL-12 and Stat4 activation. Thus, there is a lineage-specific requirement for Stat4 activation in antigen-induced IFN-γ production based on differences in TCR signaling between CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1355-1360
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 19 1999


  • Interferon γ
  • Interleukin 12
  • Interleukin 18
  • Stat4
  • T lymphocytes


Dive into the research topics of 'Lineage-specific requirement for signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)4 in interferon γ production from CD4+ versus CD8+ T cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this