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The phenotype and survival of antigen-stimulated transgenic CD4 t cells in vivo: the influence of persisting antigen

Garside, P. and Yang, C.P. and Sparshot, S.M. and Duffy, D. and Bell, E.B. (2006) The phenotype and survival of antigen-stimulated transgenic CD4 t cells in vivo: the influence of persisting antigen. International Immunology, 18 (4). pp. 515-523. ISSN 0953-8178

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Naive and primed/memory CD4 T cells are distinguished by changes in the expression of activation/adhesion molecules that correspond with an altered function. Adoptively transferred TCR transgenic (tg) CD4 T cells specific for ovalbumin peptide (OVA-pep) were analysed for changing phenotype and the speed of change in vivo following antigen challenge with alum-precipitated (ap) OVA-pep, a conjugate that stimulated a Th2-type cytokine response. The change of CD45RB in relation to number of divisions showed that the transition from CD45RBhi (naive) to CD45RBlow (primed/memory) was incremental; with each cell cycle the number of CD45RBhi molecules on the cell surface was diluted by approximately half and replaced by the low-weight isoform. Similarly, the change to CD44hi expression increased gradually during four rounds of proliferation. The loss of CD62L expression occurred early and was independent of cell division. CD69 was up-regulated quickly within 1–2 cycles, but down-regulated after about seven divisions. The expression of CD49d was not altered during the early rounds of division, although it was up-regulated on 30–60% of tg T cells dividing repeatedly (≥8 cycles). When analysed on day 3 following stimulation, CD25 was no longer up-regulated. The intra-peritoneal injection of ap-OVA-pep stimulated tg T cells in the spleen and mesenteric lymph node one day in advance of those in more distant peripheral lymph nodes. Evidence indicated that residual antigen persisted for at least 4 weeks and was able to stimulate naive tg T cells. However, residual antigen had no net effect on extending or reducing survival of the transferred population.