Functional heterogeneity among herpes simplex virus-specific human CD4+ T cells

Masaki Yasukawa, Akira Inatsuki, Takahiko Horiuchi, Yuzuru Kobayashi

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61 Citations (Scopus)


One hundred thirteen HSV-specific CD4+ T cell clones were established from the PBL of a healthy person and their functional heterogeneity was investigated. All clones proliferated in response to stimulation with HSV in the presence of autologous APC. Among those, 48 clones showed cytotoxic activity to HSV-infected autologous EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell line, but not to HSV-infected autologous fibroblasts, HSV-infected allogeneic cells, or K562 cells (group 1). Five clones showed cytotoxicity against HSV-infected autologous cells as well as HSV-infected allogeneic cells and K562 cells (group 2). The cytotoxicity of these clones was found to be mediated by the direct killing but not by the "innocent bystander" killing of target cells. Sixty clones showed no cytotoxic activity, however, among these, 23 revealed HLA-unrestricted and nonspecific cytotoxicity in the presence of PHA in culture (group 3), and the remaining 37 did not show any cytotoxic activity even in the presence of PHA (group 4). The cytotoxic patterns of these clones did not change in activated and resting phases, suggesting that the difference in cytotoxic ability does not depend on cell cycles. The cytotoxic activity of group 1 was inhibited by addition of anti-HLA-DR or anti-CD3 mAb to the culture, whereas these mAb had no effect on the cytotoxicity of group 2. All four groups of clones had helper activity for anti-HSV antibody production by autologous B cells. Moreover it was found that all groups of clones simultaneously produced IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-γ after culture with APC followed by HSV Ag stimulation. The surface phenotype of all clones was uniformly CD2+, CD3+, CD4+, CD8-, CD29+, CD45RA-, but expression of Leu 8 was varied. These data therefore indicate that HSV-specific human CD4+ T cells are classified into at least four groups according to the presence and specificity of cytotoxicity, i.e., Th cells with HSV-specific and HLA-class II-restricted cytotoxicity, Th cells with HLA-unrestricted and nonspecific cytotoxicity, Th cells with lectin-dependent cytotoxicity, and Th cells without cytotoxic activity. The present finding of functional heterogeneity among virus-specific human CD4+ T cells might shed light on the pathogenesis of CD4+ T cell immunodeficiency, such as human retrovirus infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1341-1347
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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