The relative roles of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in contact hypersensitivity responses have not been fully solved, and remain an important question. Using an adoptive transfer model, we investigated the role of the respective T cell subset. Magnetic bead separated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from oxazolone sensitized C57BL/6 mice were transferred into RAG-/- mice, followed by hapten challenge and analysis of inflammatory parameters at 24 hours post exposure. The CD4+ T cell recipient mice developed partial contact hypersensitivity responses to oxazolone. CD8+ T cells caused significant amplification of the response in recipients of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells including ear swelling, type 1 inflammatory mediators, and cell killing. Unexpectedly, CD8+ T cells were not sufficient to mediate contact hypersensitivity, although abundantly present in the lymph nodes in the CD8+ T cell reconstituted mice. There were no signs of inflammation at the site of hapten exposure, indicating impaired recruitment of CD8+ T cells in the absence of CD4+ T cells. These data show that CD4+ T cells mediate contact hypersensitivity to oxazolone, but CD8+ T cells contribute with the most potent effector mechanisms. Moreover, our results suggest that CD4+ T cell function is required for the mobilization of CD8+ effector T cells to the site of hapten exposure. The results shed new light on the relative importance of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells during the effector phase of contact hypersensitivity. © 2012 Fyhrquist et al.
Fyhrquist, N., Wolff, H., Lauerma, A., & Alenius, H. (2012). CD8+ T cell migration to the skin requires CD4+ help in a murine model of contact hypersensitivity. PLoS ONE, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0041038