The role of CD4+ T cells in promoting CD8+ T cell effector activity in response to transplant Ags in vivo has not been reported. We used a hepatocellular allograft model known to initiate both CD4-dependent and CD4-independent rejection responses to investigate the contribution of CD4+ T cells to the development, function, and persistence of allospecific CD8+ T cell effectors in vivo. Complete MHC-mismatched hepatocellular allografts were transplanted into C57BL/6 (CD4-sufficient) or CD4 knockout (CD4-deficient) hosts. The development of in vivo allospecific cytotoxicity was determined by clearance of CFSE-labeled target cells. CD8 + T cell cytotoxic effector activity was enhanced in response to allogeneic hepatocellular grafts with a greater magnitude of allocytotoxicity and a prolonged persistence of CTL effector activity in CD4-sufficient hosts compared with CD4-deficient hosts. Cytolytic activity was mediated by CD8 + T cells in both recipient groups. In response to a second hepatocyte transplant, rejection kinetics were enhanced in both CD4-sufficient and CD4-deficient hepatocyte recipients. However, only CD4-sufficient hosts developed recall CTL responses with an augmented magnitude and persistence of allocytotoxicity in comparison with primary CTL responses. These studies show important functional differences between alloreactive CD8+ T cell cytolytic effectors that mature in vivo in the presence or absence of CD4 + T cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy