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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

CD4+ T cell-mediated killing of major histocompatibility complex class II-positive antigen-presenting cells (APC). III. CD4+ cytotoxic T cells induce apoptosis of APC.

A subset of CD4+ T cells, belonging to the T helper type 1 (Th1) cells, kills antigen-presenting cells (APC) in an antigen-specific and major histocompatibility (MHC) class II-restricted way. Evidence is presented that CD4+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) induce apoptosis or programmed cell death within susceptible APC as witnessed by quantitative DNA fragmentation. Apoptosis is more reliable to determine cell death than the 51Cr-release assay, because some cells demonstrate resistance to CD4-mediated lysis in the 51Cr-release assay. Apoptosis becomes manifest after 2 to 4 h of incubation preceding the disintegration of the target cells which is detectable between 12 and 24 h as measured by the 51Cr-release assay. Unstimulated B cells, which are not killed, but function as APC, do not undergo apoptosis, whereas lipopolysaccharide or anti-mu-activated B cell blasts show apoptosis and are efficiently lysed. Several CD4+ Th2-type cells tested, which did not demonstrate killing of APC as measured by the 51Cr-release assay, are unable to mediate programmed cell death of appropriate APC. Actinomycin D or cycloheximide, inhibitors of transcription and translation, respectively, fail to prevent apoptosis of APC excluding the involvement of newly synthesized soluble products as mediators of killing. Pretreatment of CD4+ CTL, but not of APC with 4,4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid, a specific inhibitor of the anion transport, efficiently prevents apoptosis of APC, although the secretion of interleukins is not affected. We propose, that upon contact of the CD4+ CTL with APC, molecules of yet undefined nature are activated and released in a polar fashion at the contact site and induce the endogenous pathway of programmed cell death.[1]


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