The antiviral activity of immune CD8+ T cells is dependent on interferon-gamma

Lymphokine Cytokine Res. 1991 Oct;10(5):353-8.


Vaccinia virus (VV) is a cytopathic virus that in normal mice exhibits only low virulence. However, when mice were treated throughout the course of the infection with mAb to IFN-gamma, the virus was lethal. The inability of these mice to clear the infection was not due to inhibition of effector T cell development since equally high numbers of cytotoxic T cells were generated in mAb- or control-treated mice. Instead, the data presented show that the defect was at the level of effector T cell activity. When immune CD8+ T cells were transferred to virus-infected recipients the infection was readily cleared. In contrast, effector cell function was totally blocked in mAb-treated recipients. We have considered these findings in view of our earlier observations that T cell deficient mice were able to resolve an otherwise lethal vv infection if infected with recombinant vv that encoded the genes for IL-2 or IFN-gamma. We propose a unifying concept such that antiviral T cells, which recognize infected cells in the context of class I MHC molecules, act to focus antiviral cytokines at the site of virus infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • CD8 Antigens / immunology*
  • Female
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic / transplantation
  • Vaccinia / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Interferon-gamma