Isolated peripheral T cells from GvHR recipients exhibit defective IL-2R expression, IL-2 production, and proliferation in response to activation stimuli

R. B. Levy, M. Jones, C. Cray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Graft-vs-host reactions (GvHR) following the injection of class I/II MHC disparate parental cells into unirradiated F1 recipient mice result in the development of marked immune dysfunction. Following negative selection using adherence and antibody and complement depletion, highly purified T cells were examined to determine their ability to undergo activation. Three weeks after GvHR initiation, unstimulated splenic T cells from GvHR mice displayed normal CD3 and IL-2R expression but elevated expression of class I MHC and Ly-6A/E antigens. Despite culture with normal F1 accessory cells, both CD4+ and CD8+ GvHR T cells exhibited low levels of proliferation to both Con A and anti- CD3 mAb. Although following exposure for 12 h to either of these stimuli, GvHR T cells expressed normal levels of IL-2R, expression was greatly decreased vs normal T cells between 24 and 48 h. In addition, at no timepoint was detectable IL-2 produced by GvHR T cells. Importantly, mixing experiments did not demonstrate detectable suppressive activity in the purified GvHR T cell subsets. GvHR T cells were also tested for their ability to respond to stimuli in the absence of any accessory cell population. These cells again did not proliferate to levels equivalent to normal T cells. Incubation with PMA and either cytokines (Con A supernatant, rIL-7) or anti-CD3 mAb resulted in only low levels of proliferation in GvHR T cells. Notably, at high ionomycin concentrations together with PMA, GvHR T cells did proliferate to equivalent levels as normal cells. However, with decreasing concentrations of ionophore, these cells failed to proliferate as well as normal cells. In total, these findings demonstrate that GvHR T cells are phenotypically and functionally distinct from normal T cells. The results suggest that GvHR T cells themselves may contribute to the well-characterized immune depression occurring in recipients undergoing GvHR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3998-4005
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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