Low-avidity CD8lo T cells induced by incomplete antigen stimulation in vivo regulate naive higher avidity CD8hi T cell responses to the same antigen

Robert Maile, Shannon M. Pop, Roland Tisch, Edward J. Collins, Bruce A. Cairns, Jeffrey A. Frelinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that multiple injections of soluble MHC class I tetramers assembled with wild-type HY peptide induces unresponsiveness to male skin grafts in naive female C57BL/6 (B6) mice. Induction of unresponsiveness is dependent on a population of unresponsive allospecific CD8lo T cells. Reduced expression of CD8 acts to limit a T cell response to HY peptide by limiting the avidity window of effective signal transduction. We and others have demonstrated that CD8lo T cells are an alternative stable phenotype of CD8αβ+ T cells in vitro and in vivo after antigen stimulation. We show here that CD8lo T cells can suppress naive CD8+ T cell responses to HY antigen in vitro and male skin graft rejection in vivo after adoptive transfer into female recipients. These novel regulatory T cells express surface TGF-β1 and secrete T cytotoxic 2 cytokines after antigen-specific stimulation. Anti-TGF-β antibody and latency-associated peptide inhibit the suppressive effects in vitro. We also show that HY-specific memory CD8+ T cells overcome regulation by CD8lo T cells. These data define a novel peripheral regulatory CD8+ T cell population that arises after repeated antigen encounter in vivo. These cells have implications in the maintenance of tolerance and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-410
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CD8 T cells
  • Immune regulation
  • MHC
  • Regulatory T cells
  • Tolerance Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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