Induction of type 2 activity in adult human CD8+ T cells by repeated stimulation and IL-4

Luminita A. Stanciu, Kevan Roberts, Laurie C.K. Lau, Anthony J. Coyle, Sebastian L. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Repeated administration or chronic presence of antigen during CD4+ T cell activation and a cytokine milieu enriched in IL-4 favour the generation and maintenance of a Th2 population. However, there is little data on how these factors affect adult human CD8+ T cell functions. We established in vitro conditions to culture purified human CD8+ T cells, and investigated how repeated stimulation and exogenous IL-4 modulated their functions. Repeated TCR-CD3 stimulation of CD8+ T cells increased the number of CD25-, CD30- and CD40 ligand-expressing cells, and their capacity to secrete IL-4 and IL-5. In addition, repeatedly stimulated CD8+ T cells had cytotoxic activity and provided help to resting B cells for IgE synthesis. The presence of exogenous IL-4 during repeated stimulation further increased the number of CD25+ and CD30+ CD8+ T cells, up-regulated the number of IL-5+ cells, and increased IL-5 levels released. These observations demonstrate that repeated TCR-CD3 stimulation of normal human CD8+ T cells favoured the growth of cells with a type 2 phenotype and that this was further amplified by the presence of IL-4. These mechanisms may be important in virus-induced lung eosinophilic inflammation in healthy subjects and virus-induced exacerbations of asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-348
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cellular differentiation
  • Cytokines
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte


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