Prevention of superantigen induced down-regulation of T cell mediated cytotoxic activity by IL-2 in vivo. 1996 Accepted for publication in Immunology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Administration of staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) to mice induces profound activation, cytokine production and cytotoxic activity of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, but subsequently activated cells are deleted or become anergic. This study demonstrates that administration of interleukin-2 (IL-2) can prevent sea-induced hyporesponsiveness in CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Repeated injections with sea every fourth day resulted in severely reduced cytotoxic activity in the spleen, which correlated with a reduced number of sea-responsive T-cell receptor (TCR)-V beta 11+ CD8+ cells. Studies of purified TCR-V beta 11+ CD8+ cells showed that they possessed intact cytotoxic activity per cell compared with cells from mice given a single injection of SEA, indicating that deletion was the main mechanism for the reduced cytotoxic activity. Combined treatment with SEA and IL-2 increased the number of cytotoxic cells in the spleen after each SEA injection and prevented the down-regulation of cytotoxic activity. Increased cytotoxic activity could be related to increased number and proliferation of CD8+ IL-2R alpha + cells, suggesting that administration of IL-2 maintained IL-2 responsiveness among CD8+ cells. Studies of sorted TCR-V beta 11+ CD8+ cells demonstrated that combined treatment with SEA and IL-2 also increased cytotoxic activity per cell compared with treatment with SEA alone. Taken together, IL-2 administration in vivo augmented SEA-induced expansion of T cells as well as the cytotoxic activity per CTL, and prevented SEA-induced cell deletion.


  • Hans Belfrage
  • M Dohlsten
  • G Hedlund
  • T Kalland
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Belfrage, H., 1996, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Lund University. 58 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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