Comparison of lymphokine secretion and mRNA expression in the CD45RA+ and CD45RO+ subsets of human peripheral blood CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes

Eur J Immunol. 1995 Mar;25(3):644-8. doi: 10.1002/eji.1830250303.


Flow cytometric analysis of human peripheral blood T lymphocytes demonstrated that the majority of the CD4+ cells were CD29+ or CD45RO+ "mature" cells while the CD8+ cells were primarily CD45RA+ "native" cells. After an initial separation into CD4+ and CD8+ cells and a secondary separation into CD45 subsets, lymphokine secretion was assessed after phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and ionomycin or fixed anti-CD3 stimulation. Within the respective CD45 subsets, CD4+ cells produced more interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, and IL-6; but the CD8+ cells secreted more interferon-gamma and granulocyte/macrophage-colony-stimulating factor. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha secretion was similar in the matched CD45 subsets. Northern analysis revealed a parallel pattern of lymphokine mRNA expression in the four lymphocyte subsets. These results suggest that human CD8+ peripheral blood lymphocytes have a significant capacity to secrete lymphokines, and that the low lymphokine production observed in unseparated CD8+ cells reflects the higher percentage of less functional CD45RA+ cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Ionomycin / pharmacology
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology


  • CD3 Complex
  • Lymphokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ionomycin
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate