Cytotoxicity and secretion of gamma interferon are carried out by distinct CD8 T cells during Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Þorbjörg Einarsdóttir, Euan Lockhart, Jo Anne L. Flynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The host immune response is generally sufficient to contain Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. It does not, however, efficiently prevent subsequent infection with M. tuberculosis or provide sterilizing immunity. While the understanding of the immune response generated against this pathogen is incomplete, improvements have been achieved due to advances in immunological tools. In this study, we analyzed the multifunctional nature of primary and memory CD8 T-cell responses generated during murine M. tuberculosis infection. We generated a recombinant M. tuberculosis strain expressing ovalbumin (OVA) epitopes in order to expand the peptides for the detection of CD8 T cells during M. tuberculosis infection and enable us to use OVA-specific reagents. Our results indicate that the majority of M. tuberculosis-specific CD8 T cells are limited to either cytotoxicity or the secretion of gamma interferon (IFN-γ), with cytotoxicity being far more prevalent than IFN-γ secretion. Memory CD8 T cells responded earlier and reached higher levels in the lungs than naïve CD8 T cells, as was expected. They were, however, less cytotoxic and secreted less IFN-γ than newly primed CD8 T cells, suggesting that one factor contributing to bacterial persistence and lack of sterilizing immunity may be the low quality of memory cells that are generated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4621-4630
Number of pages10
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume77
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

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