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The CD4 and CD8 molecules are involved in T cell differentiation and activation. Nevertheless, efficient thymic maturation of helper T cells has been shown in the absence of the CD4 molecule. These CD4-deficient helper T cells expressed alpha beta-TCR and were able to control Leishmania infections and to mediate Ab class switch. Using mice deficient for the CD8 alpha-chain, we investigated whether a similar cytotoxic T cell population was generated in the absence of the CD8 coreceptor. A CD8-deficient cytotoxic T cell population corresponding to the described CD4-deficient helper T cell population was virtually absent both functionally and physically. These results support the idea that thymic maturation is asymmetrical and strongly biased toward the helper phenotype.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Immunol

Publication Date

15/10/1995

Volume

155

Pages

3727 - 3733

Keywords

Animals, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cell Differentiation, Cytotoxicity Tests, Immunologic, Flow Cytometry, Histocompatibility Antigens Class I, Histocompatibility Antigens Class II, Isoantigens, Lymphocyte Activation, Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Mutant Strains, Phenotype, T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer, Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus