Response of naïve and memory CD8+ T cells to antigen stimulation in vivo

Nat Immunol. 2000 Jul;1(1):47-53. doi: 10.1038/76907.


We studied the influence of memory T cell properties on the efficiency of secondary immune responses by comparing the in vivo immune response of the same numbers of T cell receptor (TCR) transgenic (Tg) naïve and memory T cells. Compared to naïve Tg cells, memory cells divided after a shorter lag time; had an increased division rate; a lower loss rate; and showed more rapid and efficient differentiation to effector functions. We found that initial naïve T cell priming resulted in cells expressing mutually exclusive effector functions, whereas memory T cells were multifunctional after reactivation, with each individual cell expressing two to three different effector functions simultaneously. These special properties of memory T cells ensure the immediate control of reinfection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8 Antigens / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Gene Rearrangement, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*


  • CD8 Antigens
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Rag2 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • V(D)J recombination activating protein 2