Background. 2C mice bearing the cytotoxic TCR for class I Ld on a C57BL/6 (B6) background have a preponderance of 1B2+CD8+ T cells directed against Ld. These naïve CD8+ T cells are not directly cytotoxic without prior in vivo or in vitro activation. However, after in vitro sensitization, they become highly cytotoxic and will acutely and specifically reject a tolerant Ld BALB/c heart graft. Anti-lymphocyte serum (ALS) treatment eliminates CD4+ and CD8+ cells and a large double negative (CD4-CD8-) 1B2+ non-cytotoxic transgenic cell population remains. The immunological function of this unique peripheral population of T cells is investigated in the 2C transgenic mouse. Materials and methods. To determine the activation characteristics of the 2C CD4-CD8- T cells, 2C peripheral T cells were analyzed for 1B2+, CD8+, and CD4+ marker by FACS before and 48-h after 0.5 cc ALS i.p. Similarly, in vitro, the response of these 2C CD4-CD8- T cells remaining after deletion of mature CD4+ and CD8+ T cells with ALS plus complement were evaluated by mixed lymphocyte culture and cytotoxic T lymphocyte after 7 days culture with BALB/c, IL-2, or BALB/c + IL-2. Parallel experiments were performed with control non-transgenic B6 mice. Following in vitro culture with BALB/c + IL-2, 2C CD4-CD8- T cells were injected into B6 mice with a tolerant BALB/c heart (tolerization via anti-CD4 mAb and intrathymic BALB/c) to determine their immunogenicity. Results. While peripheral T cells in control B6 mice have <5% CD4-CD8- cells, transgenic 2C mice have a significantly increased percentage at 29 to 35% (P < 0.01). After the deletion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells with either in vivo or in vitro ALS, 2C CD4-CD8- T cells increased to 96 to 99%. After 7-day culture, the 2C CD4-CD8- T cells decreased again to 33 to 38%. Simultaneously, 2C CD8+ T cells decreased from 56 to 62% to 0.1 to 3% after ALS treatment, but again increased to 61 to 70% after in vitro culture. Untreated 2C cells responded to IL-2 or BALB/c antigen equally well. However, after ALS treatment, CD4-CD8- T cells responded to IL-2 and IL-2 plus antigen, but not BALB/c antigen alone. Finally, CD4-CD8- T cells cultured for 7 days with BALB/c + IL-2 rejected the tolerant BALB/c heart in 5.3 ± 0.3 days. Conclusion. In the periphery of transgenic 2C mice is a unique CD4-CD8- population of T cells bearing the transgenic specific marker 1B2. These non-cytotoxic cells can be optimally stimulated to develop marked specific Ld cytotoxicity in parallel with the expression of the CD8+ epitope.
- CD4-CD8- T cells
- Transgenic mouse