An approach to isolating T cell lines that react to antigens presented on the surface of dendritic cells


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We describe an approach that might be useful for identifying antigens on surfaces of antigen presenting cells. It is known that dendritic cells carry antigens in situ and are efficient at clustering antigen‐specific T cells. Using the human mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) system, we have shown that alloreactive CD4+ T cells can be selected by their capacity to cluster with dendritic cells in the first 2 days of the MLR. Small numbers of clustered cells, 1–10/culture well, could then be expanded as antigen‐specific lines in presence of either antigen or mitogen, sodium periodate. Few antigen‐specific lines could be isolated from the nonclustered fraction. When T cell lines derived from the dendritic T cell clusters were maintained without antigen, i.e. using second party (syngeneic antigen‐presenting cells (APC)) or irrelevant antigen bearing APC, i.e. third‐party (HLA‐mismatched) stimulator cells plus mitogen, the T cells retained their specificity for the original stimulating alloantigen over the time course tested, several weeks to months. These findings show that by using dendritic cells as immunoadsorbents one can prepare antigen‐specific cell lines and maintain the specificity of the lines without the need for adding exogeneous antigen during either immunoselection or cloning. We discuss the possible use of dendritic cells as a means for raising T cell lines and clones that recognize antigens being carried by APC and which might be pertinent to protective immunity and autoimmunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-356
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • antigen specificity
  • dendritic cells
  • human T cell lines
  • immunoadsorbents


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