Background: Upon Ag-activation cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) produce IFN-γ GM-CSF and TNF-α, which deliver simultaneously pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory signals to the surrounding microenvironment. Whether this secretion affects in an autocrine loop the CTLs themselves is unknown. Methods: Here, we compared the transcriptional profile of Ag-activated, Flu-specific CTL stimulated with the FLU M1:58-66 peptide to that of convivial CTLs expanded in vitro in the same culture. PBMCs from 6 HLA-A*0201 expressing donors were expanded for 7 days in culture following Flu M1:58-66 stimulation in the presence of 300 IU/ml of interleukin-2 and than sorted by high speed sorting to high purity CD8+ expressing T cells gated according to FluM1:58-66 tetrameric human leukocyte antigen complexes expression. Results: Ag-activated CTLs displayed higher levels of IFN-γ, GM-CSF (CSF2) and GM-CSF/IL-3/IL-5 receptor common β- chain (CD131) but lacked completely expression of IFN-γ receptor-II and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). This observation suggested that Ag-activated CTLs in preparation for the release of IFN-γ and GM-CSF shield themselves from the potentially apoptotic effects of the former entrusting their survival to GM-SCF. In vitro phenotyping confirmed the selective surface expression of CD131 by Ag-activated CTLs and their increased proliferation upon exogenous administration of GM-CSF. Conclusion: The selective responsiveness of Ag-activated CTLs to GM-CSF may provide an alternative explanation to the usefulness of this chemokine as an adjuvant for T cell aimed vaccines. Moreover, the selective expression of CD131 by Ag-activated CTLs proposes CD131 as a novel biomarker of Ag-dependent CTL activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)