High frequency of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) lymphoblastoid cell line-reactive lymphocytes in cord blood: Evaluation of cytolytic activity and IL-2 production

A. Moretta, P. Comoli, D. Montagna, A. Gasparoni, E. Percivalle, I. Carena, M. G. Revello, G. Gerna, G. Mingrat, F. Locatelli, G. Rondini, R. Maccario

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We investigated natural immunity towards autologous EBV lymphoblastoid cell lines (EBV-LCL) in the cord blood. Cord blood lymphocytes (CBL) from 20 healthy neonates were examined together with three EBV+ and one EBV-adult donors. We found that high frequencies of EBV-LCL-reactive cytotoxic lymphocytes, ranging from 1/190 to 1/12205 were detectable in EBV- and EBV+ donors, as well as in the cord blood of 15 out of 20 neonates. Surface phenotype analysis, depletion experiments with MoAbs specific for T and natural killer (NK) lymphocyte subsets, and T lymphocyte cloning procedures strongly indicate virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) as the major population responsible for the lysis of autologous EBV-LCL in EBV+ donors. Conversely, a high frequency of NK cells seems to be involved in the killing activity observed in neonates and in the EBV- donor. Frequencies of EBV-LCL-induced IL-2-producing lymphocytes were high in EBV+ donors (range 1/2247-1/6633) and heterogeneous, but consistent, in cord blood (range 1/5072-1/57819) and in the EBV- adult (1/17148). CD8+ lymphocytes were responsible for IL-2 production in EBV+ individuals, while CD4+ T cells were charged with this role in cord blood and in the EBV- donor. These data demonstrate that CBL are able to develop a strong innate immunity, directed against autologous EBV-infected cells, mediated by both NK cells and CD4+ T lymphocytes. This characteristic may be relevant for protection against viral infections in both neonates and patients given cord blood transplantation (CBT).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-320
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Volume107
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Keywords

  • cord blood lymphocytes
  • cytotoxic activity
  • EBV lymphoblastoid cell lines
  • IL-2 production
  • NK cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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