Contribution of CD8+ T cells to innate immunity: IFN-γ secretion induced by IL-12 and IL-18

Rance E. Berg, Christoph J. Cordes, James Forman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


The role of CD8+ T cells in adaptive immunity is well documented and involves numerous effector mechanisms including direct cytolysis of targets and secretion of cytokines. The role of CD8+ T cells in innate immunity has not been previously appreciated. Using J774 macrophages infected in vitro with the intracellular bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes (LM), we show that CD8+ T cells isolated from naïve C57BL/6 (B6) mice respond rapidly by secreting IFN-γ. CD8+ T cells secreting IFN-γ can also be found in naïve B6 mice 16 h after infection with LM. This rapid IFN-γ response is TCR-independent and mediated through the actions of IL-12 and IL-18. Cell surface staining and cell sorting experiments indicate that these novel CD8+ T cells express memory markers. In vitro CFSE-labeling experiments show that IFN-γ-secreting CD8+ T cells proliferate rapidly after 2 days in culture and after 4 days constitute the majority of the CD8+ T cell population. Together, these data suggest an important role for IFN-γ-secreting CD8+ T cells in the innate response to bacterial pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2807-2816
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2002


  • Cell surface molecule
  • Cellular activation
  • Cytokine
  • T lymphocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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