Maturation of cytolytic T lymphocytes

Miriam Moscovitch, Zvi Grossman, Dalia Rosen, Gideon Berke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We have studied the maturation of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTL) following primary and anamnestic responses in vivo and in vitro. Parameters evaluated included: frequency of effector CTL, specificity of binding to and lysis of target cells, killing and recycling ability of individual CTL, and the avidity of effector-target conjugation. While the frequency of effector CTL in the peritoneal cavity of BALB/c mice immunized against leukemia EL4 of C57BL/6 origin increases from 0 to 35% in 11 days of priming, a paradoxically lower frequency has been observed usually after 2 ° and repeatedly after 3 ° immunizations both in the peritoneal cavity and in the spleen. The H-2 haplotype and H-2 sub-loci specificity of CTL is preserved upon repeated immunizations. Likewise, the rate of killing and recycling of individual CTL do not change throughout immunizations, suggesting that the cytolytic activity of individual effector CTL is discrete ("quantal") and not subject to maturation upon repeated immunizations. On the other hand, inhibition of conjugate formation and of lysis by antibodies against target major histocompatibility complex (MHC) or effector Lyt-2 determinants is consistently less effective with 3 ° CTL, suggesting an increase in avidity of effector/3-target interaction upon repeated immunizations. A striking increase in apparent avidity has been observed during CTL priming in mixed lymphocyte reaction, as deduced from blocking by target cell MHC antibodies. These results suggest that alloimmune CTL undergo maturation with respect to their ability to interact with the target, and that the composition of the responding population is subject to moderate selective processes driven by repeated antigenic stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-67
Number of pages16
JournalCellular Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1986


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