Antigen-independent cross-talk between macrophages and CD8+ T cells facilitates their cooperation during target destruction Article (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Gurlo, Tatyana; von Grafenstein, Hermann


  • Inflammatory sites associated with tissue destruction often contain a complex mixture of cells including macrophages as well as CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Here, we have investigated, using islets of Langerhans as targets, if CD8+ T cells and macrophages can cooperate in tissue destruction. CD8+ T cells obtained from the islet inflammatory lesion of non-obese diabetic mice or cloned islet-specific CD8+ T cells were ineffective in destroying islets on their own. Including increasing numbers of macrophages in co-cultures of islets and islet-derived or cloned CD8+ T cells progressively increased and accelerated islet destruction. Macrophages alone were ineffective. Macrophage-depleted islets were not destroyed by islet-derived CD8+ T cells. For cooperative islet destruction to occur, beta cells, but not macrophages, needed to be able to present antigens to CD8+ T cells. CD8+ T cells triggered NO production by macrophages, while macrophages triggered IFN-gamma production by CD8+ T cells. Each of these factors was partially effective, but not sufficient, for maximal islet destruction. Antibodies specific for ICAM-1 and LFA-1 inhibited both cooperative islet destruction and cross-stimulation of CD8+ T cells and macrophages. The data suggest that if CD8+ T cells become only weakly activated by target cells, they are not able to destroy target tissue on their own. However, such CD8+ T cells and local macrophages may still cross-stimulate each other, which then facilitates target destruction. For this to occur, target cells, but not macrophages, need to present antigen to CD8+ T cells.

publication date

  • 2003

published in

start page

  • 1063

end page

  • 71


  • 15