Activation of Flucloxacillin-Specific CD8+ T-Cells With the Potential to Promote Hepatocyte Cytotoxicity in a Mouse Model

Ryan Nattrass, Lee Faulkner, Marc Vocanson, Daniel J Antoine, Anja Kipar, Gerry Kenna, Jean-Francois Nicolas, B Kevin Park, Dean J Naisbitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are currently no animal models of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) where the adaptive immune system has been shown to damage the liver. Thus, it is difficult to explore the mechanistic basis of the tissue injury. The aim of this study was to use C57BL/6 CD4+-deficient mice with a mutation in the αβ gene encoding for Major histocompatibilty complex (MHC) class II molecules to (1) develop a mouse model of flucloxacillin sensitization, (2) explore whether drug-specific CD8+ kill primary hepatocytes, and (3) analyze perturbations in liver integrity following oral exposure to flucloxacillin. CD8+ T-cells from lymph nodes of flucloxacillin-sensitized mice were stimulated to proliferate, secrete interferon (IFN-γ) and granzyme B, and induce hepatocyte apoptosis in a concentration-dependent manner following ex vivo stimulation. The T-cell response was antigen-specific; T-cells were not activated with other β-lactam antibiotics. Furthermore, T-cell responses only occurred in the presence of flucloxacillin-pulsed antigen presenting cells. In separate experiments, flucloxacillin-specific T-cells were induced to migrate to the mesenteric lymph nodes using retinoic acid, prior to administration of oral flucloxacillin, and analysis of plasma biomarkers of liver injury. Oral exposure to flucloxacillin resulted in mild elevations in alanine aminotransferase, liver, and gall bladder leukocyte infiltration and a marked swelling of the gall bladder. Thus, CD4+-deficient mice represent a promising model to study the role of the adaptive immune system in DILI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-56
Number of pages11
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015


  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Floxacillin
  • Hepatocytes
  • Mice
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of Flucloxacillin-Specific CD8+ T-Cells With the Potential to Promote Hepatocyte Cytotoxicity in a Mouse Model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this