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Free Content Type I interferon supports primary CD8+ T-cell responses to peptide-pulsed dendritic cells in the absence of CD4+ T-cell help

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CD8+ T-cell responses to non-pathogen, cell-associated antigens such as minor alloantigens or peptide-pulsed dendritic cells (DC) are usually strongly dependent on help from CD4+ T cells. However, some studies have described help-independent primary CD8+ T-cell responses to cell-associated antigens, using immunization strategies likely to trigger natural killer (NK) cell activation and inflammatory cytokine production. We asked whether NK cell activation by MHC I-deficient cells, or administration of inflammatory cytokines, could support CD4+ T-cell help-independent primary responses to peptide-pulsed DC. Injection of MHC I-deficient cells cross-primed CD8+ T-cell responses to the protein antigen ovalbumin (OVA) and the male antigen HY, but did not stimulate CD8+ T-cell responses in CD4-depleted mice; hence NK cell stimulation by MHC I-deficient cells did not replace CD4+ T-cell help in our experiments. Dendritic cells cultured with tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) or type I interferon-α (IFN-α) also failed to prime CD8+ T-cell responses in the absence of help. Injection of TNF-α increased lymph node cellularity, but did not generate help-independent CD8+ T-cell responses. In contrast, CD4-depleted mice injected with IFN-α made substantial primary CD8+ T-cell responses to peptide-pulsed DC. Mice deficient for the type I IFN receptor (IFNR1) made CD8+ T-cell responses to IFNR1-deficient, peptide-pulsed DC; hence IFN-α does not appear to be a downstream mediator of CD4+ T-cell help. We suggest that primary CD8+ T-cell responses will become help-independent whenever endogenous IFN-α secretion is stimulated by tissue damage, infection, or autoimmune disease.
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Keywords: CD4/helper T cells (Th cells, Th0, Th1, Th2, Th3, Th17); CD8/cytotoxic T cells; dendritic cells; inflammation; natural killer cells (NK cells)

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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