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Patterns of major histocompatibility complex class II expression by T cell subsets in different immunological compartments. 2. Altered expression and cell function following activation in vivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2889-96
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1993


This study characterizes antigen-induced phenotypic and functional aspects of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression on recirculating T cells in efferent lymph. In vivo secondary, but not primary challenge is associated with both kinetic and phenotypic alterations in class II expression by T cells. All three major T cell subsets, CD4+, CD8+ and T19+ (gamma delta T cell receptor), show an approximate four fold increase in the level of MHC class II expression during secondary responses. No changes in B cell expression of class II were seen. Resting efferent lymph T cells are predominantly either class II- or DR+DQ- but this changes to DR+DQ+ after antigenic challenge. The antigen-presenting function of these class II+ T cells was investigated at daily intervals after in vivo antigenic challenge. T cells from non-activated lymph nodes could not induce proliferation of antigen-specific T cells with soluble antigen but were weakly stimulatory in allo-mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) at high (> 2:1) stimulator cell ratios. Activated T cells isolated during secondary in vivo responses, and expressing increased quantities of MHC class II, were positive stimulator cells in the MLR. In contrast these cells could not present soluble antigen or trypsin-digested antigen to the T cell lines. In the MLR assays, the relative stimulation by class II+ T cells correlates with the levels of class II expression. We conclude from these experiments that both quantitative and qualitative changes in MHC class II, induced on T cells under physiological conditions, play a role in the regulation of the immune response in vivo but that that role is not simply one of presentation of soluble antigen.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Antigen-Presenting Cells, Antigens, Gene Expression, Genes, MHC Class II, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Lymph, Lymphocyte Activation, Phenotype, Sheep, T-Lymphocyte Subsets

ID: 8534604