IL-2 induces Fas ligand/Fas (CD95L/CD95) cytotoxicity in CD8+ and CD4+ T lymphocyte clones

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IL-2 is a T cell growth factor that has pleiotropic functions in T cell differentiation, induction of lymphokine-activated killer cells, and regulation of immune responses. In studying TCR triggering of perforin or Fas ligand (FasL)/Fas (CD95 ligand/CD95) cytotoxicity in our influenza-specific T cell clones, we found that IL-2 can also induce FasL/Fas cytotoxicity. IL-2 induces FasL/Fas cytotoxicity in our CD8+ and CD4+ Th1 clones, but not in our CD4+ Th2 clones. IL-2 induction of cytolytic activity occurs when the CD8+ T cells are refractory to IL-2-induced proliferation. This killing is Ag independent, MHC unrestricted, and blocked by Fas.Fc fusion protein. IL-2 induces FasL/Fas cytotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner, but does not induce high levels of FasL expression as detected by flow cytometry. TCR triggered FasL/Fas cytotoxicity is detectable in CD8+ and Th1 clones by 3 h and peaks at 6 h; high levels of killing are maintained for at least 24 h. Similarly, IL-2 induces FasL/Fas killing in CD8+ and Th1 clones within 3 h of stimulation and maintains high levels for at least 24 h. TCR-triggered FasL/Fas killing is inhibited by emetine and cyclosporin A, whereas IL-2-induced FasL/Fas killing is inhibited by emetine, but not by cyclosporin A. These results demonstrate a second mechanism to induce FasL/Fas cytotoxicity in CD8+ and Th1 clones and may explain IL-2 induction of Ag-independent MHC-unrestricted lymphokine-activated killer cell activity.


The version of record is available from the publisher at http://www.jimmunol.org/content/158/12/5612.full.pdf. Copyright © 1997 by The American Association of Immunologists