CD8 single-positive (CD8+) T cells in murine intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (iIEL) consist of alpha alpha-CD8+ and alpha beta-CD8+ subpopulations. Cytotoxicity represents an important function of peripheral CD8+ T cells, so we examined perforin-granzymebased and Fas-based cytotoxicity of activated CD8+ TCR-alpha beta+ iIEL subsets. We found that allospecific CTL activity was induced from alpha beta-CD8+ iIEL but not from alpha alpha-CD8+ iIEL even when allospecific TCR were present on the iIEL, as demonstrated by using 2C TCR transgenic mice. On the other hand, both CD8+ iIEL subsets proliferated upon allostimulation with a lower responder frequency than CD8+ LN cells. The alpha alpha-CD8+ TCR-alpha beta+ iIEL appeared to lose their ability to perform perforin-based killing after activation through TCR because fresh cells lysed P815 cells coated with anti-TCR beta-chain (TCR-beta) mAb, whereas cells activated by plate-bound anti-TCR mAb did not. Of interest, both activated CD8+ TCR-alpha beta+ iIEL subsets, but not fresh cells, were able to mediate Fas-based killing when triggered with PMA and CA2+ ionophore.

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