Author(s): Niederkorn JY, Stevens C, Mellon J, Mayhew E
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Several studies suggest that a significant number of corneal allografts undergo rejection in the absence of CD4 T cells. This study examined the role of CD4 T cell-independent mechanisms of corneal allograft rejection. METHODS: BALB/c corneal allografts were transplanted to C57BL/6 beige nude mice that received either CD8 or CD8 T cells from C57BL/6 CD4 knockout (KO) mice that had rejected BALB/c corneal allografts. Immune effector functions of CD8 or CD8 T cells from C57BL/6 CD4 KO mice were assessed using delayed-type hypersensitivity assays and Annexin V apoptosis assays respectively. RESULTS.: Both CD8 and CD8 T cells from CD4 KO corneal allograft rejector mice mediated corneal allograft rejection following adoptive transfer to nude mice. CD8 T cells, but not CD8 T cells, from CD4 KO mice adoptively transferred donor-specific DTH and induced apoptosis of BALB/c corneal endothelial cells in vitro. Apoptosis of BALB/c corneal endothelial cells was mediated by double negative (DN) T cells, as treatment of CD8 cells from CD4 KO mice with anti-Thy 1.2 plus complement abolished their effector function. CONCLUSION: The results support the proposition that CD4 T cell-independent rejection of corneal allografts can be mediated by either CD8 or CD8 T cells. The CD8 T cells represent a unique DN T cell population that might mediate rejection by either direct cytolysis or by inducing apoptosis of the donor corneal endothelium.
This article was published in Transplantation
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Ophthalmology