Tumors may contain immunogenic antigens that are only recognizable in the context of class I, and not of class II, MHC molecules. Therefore, methods were developed to analyze the capacity of Lyt-2+ T-cells to respond to a syngeneic tumor in the absence of a contribution by L3T4+ T-cells. Conditions were defined in which purified Lyt-2+ T-cell populations, as well as L3T4+ T-cell populations, isolated from immune B6 spleen cells, could be induced to proliferate specifically in response to FBL, a retrovirally induced syngeneic tumor, without the addition of exogenous lymphokines. The purity of the subset responses was documented functionally by selective inhibition of the proliferative response of only the appropriate subset following addition of anti-Kb/Db or anti-I-Ab. The antigen and accessory cell (AC) requirements for triggering immune Lyt-2+ and L3T4+ T-cell populations were examined. The response of L3T4+ populations was predominantly specific for retrovirus envelope gp70, whereas Lyt-2+ populations predominantly recognized tumor antigens other than gp70, consistent with the hypothesis that some tumor antigens may be preferentially recognized by only class I-or class II-restricted T-cells. The FBL-stimulated proliferative response of each T-cell subset was dependent upon the presence of syngeneic AC. However, exogenous interleukin 1 was able to replace AC during the response of Lyt-2+ populations, whereas L3T4+ populations required AC also to biochemically process tumor-derived antigen and present it in the context of class II MHC molecules. The results suggest that under some conditions only the presence of AC or interleukin 1 may be limiting for the induction of antitumor responses by Lyt-2+ populations.

These studies analyzed the ability to trigger purified Lyt-2+ T-cells in vitro following in vivo priming to tumor, and it remained possible that L3T4+ T-cells made an essential contribution during in vivo priming. Therefore, L3T4+-deficient mice were primed with FBL in vivo, and the Lyt-2+ T-cell response was assessed. Although priming was clearly less efficient in the absence of L3T4+ T-cells, Lyt-2+ T-cells from L3T4+- deficient mice proliferated and became cytolytically active following stimulation with FBL. Thus, under appropriate conditions, Lyt-2+ T-cells can generate an effective antitumor response in the absence of L3T4+ T-cells or exogenous lymphokines.


This work was supported by Grants CA33084 and CA30558 from the NIH, DHHS, and by Grant IM-304 from the American Cancer Society. D. E. K. is the recipient of a Poncin Scholarship and is also supported by the Medical Scientist Training Program, Grant GM-07266 from the NIH.

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