Substantial in vivo proliferation of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T lymphocytes during secondary Listeria monocytogenes infection

Eur J Immunol. 2000 Apr;30(4):1053-9. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(200004)30:4<1053::AID-IMMU1053>3.0.CO;2-N.


In mice Listeria monocytogenes infection induces a strong T cell response. In an attempt to quantitatively analyze the magnitude and kinetics of the CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell response during L. monocytogenes infection in vivo we used a T cell transfer system that is independent of in vitro cell culture techniques and information about the identity of immunogenic T cell epitopes. Our results demonstrate substantial expansion of the in vivo primed and transferred T cell populations in response to L. monocytogenes. At the peak of response, transferred T cells represented more than one third of the total CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell populations in blood and spleen of recipient mice. After stimulation in vitro, 40 % of these CD4(+) T cells responded to heat-killed listeriae with the production of IFN-gamma. Thus, our results reveal that in addition to the large CD8(+) T cell population an almost equally large population of Listeria-reactive CD4(+) T cells is generated in response to L. monocytogenes infection.

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hot Temperature
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis
  • Kinetics
  • Listeria monocytogenes / immunology*
  • Listeriosis / immunology*
  • Listeriosis / microbiology
  • Listeriosis / pathology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / microbiology


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Interferon-gamma