Generation of tumor-associated cytotoxic T lymphocytes requires interleukin 4 from CD8+ T cells


  • T. Schueler
  • T. Kammertoens
  • S. Preiss
  • P. Debs
  • N. Noben-Trauth
  • T. Blankenstein


  • Journal of Experimental Medicine


  • J Exp Med 194 (12): 1767-1775


  • Activation of tumor-associated CD8(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) often requires antigen representation, e.g., by dendritic cells (DCs), and CD4(+) T cell help. Previously, we showed that CTL-mediated tumor immunity required interleukin 4 (IL-4) during the immunization but not effector phase. To determine the source and target cells of IL-4, we performed adoptive T cell transfers using CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from IL-4(-/-) and IL-4R(-/-) mice and analyzed CTL generation. Even though necessary for CTL generation, CD4(+) T cells did not need to express IL-4 or IL-4R. Surprisingly, CTL generation required IL-4 but not IL-4R expression by CD8(+) T cells. As IL-4 (a) was expressed by naive CD8(+) T cells within 24 h after antigen encounter, (b) IL-4 induced DC maturation, and (c) CTL development was impaired in T cell-reconstituted IL-4R(-/-) mice, CD8(+) T cell-derived IL-4 appears to act on DCs. We conclude that CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells provide different signals for DC activation during CTL generation.