Effector and memory CD8+ T cells can be generated in response to alloantigen independently of CD4+ T cell help.
Jones ND., Carvalho-Gaspar M., Luo S., Brook MO., Martin L., Wood KJ.
There is now considerable evidence suggesting that CD8(+) T cells are able to generate effector but not functional memory T cells following pathogenic infections in the absence of CD4(+) T cells. We show that following transplantation of allogeneic skin, in the absence of CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells become activated, proliferate, and expand exclusively in the draining lymph nodes and are able to infiltrate and reject skin allografts. CD44(+)CD8(+) T cells isolated 100 days after transplantation rapidly produce IFN-gamma following restimulation with alloantigen in vitro. In vivo CD44(+)CD8(+) T cells rejected donor-type skin allografts more rapidly than naive CD8(+) T cells demonstrating the ability of these putative memory T cells to mount an effective recall response in vivo. These data form the first direct demonstration that CD8(+) T cells are able to generate memory as well as effector cells in response to alloantigen during rejection in the complete absence of CD4(+) T cells. These data have important implications for the design of therapies to combat rejection and serve to reinforce the view that CD8(+) T cell responses to allografts require manipulation in addition to CD4(+) T cell responses to completely prevent the rejection of foreign organ transplants.