Clonal expansion precedes anergy and death of V beta 8+ peripheral T cells responding to staphylococcal enterotoxin B in vivo

Eur J Immunol. 1991 Aug;21(8):1963-6. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830210827.


Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) selectively stimulates T cells bearing T cell receptor V beta 8 domains and hence provides a useful model to study immunity and tolerance in vivo. We show here that V beta 8+ T cells in both CD4+ and CD8+ subsets expand dramatically (fivefold) in lymphoid tissues of mice 2-4 days following injection with SEB. This initial clonal expansion, which is accompanied by a transient hyper-reactivity to SEB, is followed by a rapid decrease in V beta 8+ cells and a concomitant induction of specific non-responsiveness which persists for at least 30 days. Selective death of V beta 8+ cells occurs during this latter phase. Taken together, our data indicate that clonal expansion, anergy and death can occur as sequential stages of an immune response in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte / analysis
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Cell Survival
  • Enterotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / analysis*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity*
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / physiology


  • Antigens, Differentiation, T-Lymphocyte
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Enterotoxins
  • Interleukin-2
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal