From crucial to negligible: functional CD8⁺ T-cell responses and their dependence on CD4⁺ T-cell help

Eur J Immunol. 2012 May;42(5):1080-8. doi: 10.1002/eji.201142205.


CD8(+) T cells play an important role in controlling pathogenic infections and are therefore key players in the immune response. It has been shown that among other factors CD4(+) T cells can shape the magnitude as well as the quality of primary and/or secondary CD8(+) T-cell responses. However, due to the complexity and the differences among diverse immunization or infection models, the overall requirement, the time points, as well as the specific mechanism(s) of CD4(+) T-cell help may differ substantially. Here, we summarize current knowledge about the differential requirement of CD4(+) T-cell help in promoting primary CD8(+) T-cell responses as well as establishing functional memory CD8(+) T cells in various experimental settings.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Virus Diseases / immunology


  • Interleukin-2